Factors influencing dental utilisation in Greece

Dimitrios Zavras, Charalabos Economou, John Kyriopoulos
Community Dental Health 2004, 21 (2): 181-8

OBJECTIVE: To identify factors that influence utilisation of dental services in Greece.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Data was obtained through the "WHO Multi-Country Survey Study on Health and Responsiveness", a survey organised by the WHO and locally executed by the National School of Public Health. A national random sample of 5,000 prospective participants was selected through the national phone directory. Of those, half (2,500 participants) were mailed the self-administered questionnaire designed to assess the general health status of the Greek population, while the other half were mailed the questionnaire designed to assess responsiveness of the Greek healthcare system. Both research instruments contained a question related to utilisation of dentists during the last month, and several potential predictors. 1,819 individuals answered the questions and participated in the analysis. Two main outcomes were identified: a) reporting of any utilisation vs. none, statistically analyzed using Logistic Regression, and b) frequency of utilisation (number of visits), analyzed using Poisson Regression.

RESULTS: 25.1% reported at least one dental visit, while the mean number of visits during the last month was 0.48. Income gave an odds ratio of 1.139 (95% CI:1.038, 1.251). Dental visit frequency increased with increased income (b = 0.11, p = 0.004) and decreased whith improved self-rated health (b = 0.15, p = 0.003) and age (b = -0.006, p = 0.026).

CONCLUSIONS: Income is an important determinant of dental utilisation in Greece; it influences both the percentages and the frequency of such utilisation. Additionally, increased age and high self-rated health are associated with less frequent dental utilisation.

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