Dental Health Attitudes among Dentate Black and White Adults

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVES. Blacks and poor persons share a greater burden of oral disease and are less likely to seek dental care on a regular basis. The role of dental attitudes and knowledge of services on this circumstance is unclear. The authors quantified group differences in dental attitudes and knowledge of services and related them to regularity of dental care use. METHODS. As part of the baseline phase of The Florida Dental Care Study, a longitudinal study of oral health, 873 respondents who had at least one tooth and who were 45 years or older participated for an interview and a clinical dental examination. Dental care use, seven dental attitudinal constructs, and knowledge of dental services were queried. RESULTS. Forty-five percent of respondents reported going to a dentist only when they have a problem, and 17% of respondents had not seen a dentist in more than 5 years. Ten percent of respondents reported that they had at least one permanent tooth removed by someone other than a dentist (typically, the respondent himself). Blacks and poor persons had more negative attitudes toward dental care and dental health and were less knowledgeable of dental services. Multivariate analyses suggested that dental attitudes were important to understanding the use of dental care services for this diverse group of adults, and that race and poverty contributed independently to dental care use even with dental attitudes taken into account. CONCLUSIONS. Dental attitudes contribute to race and poverty differences in dental care use among adults. The persistence of race and poverty effects with attitudes taken into account suggests that additional explanatory factors contribute as well. These differences may contribute to more prevalent and severe oral health decrements among the same adults who also are more likely to suffer from other health decrements.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Medical Care  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gilbert GH; Duncan RP; Heft MW; Coward RT
  • Start Page

  • 255
  • End Page

  • 271
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 3