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Am J Public Health. 2013 Aug;103(8):1507-15. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301145. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Gender-stratified models to examine the relationship between financial hardship and self-reported oral health for older US men and women.

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  • 1University of Washington, School of Dentistry, Department of Oral Health Sciences, Box 357475, Seattle, WA 98195-7475, USA. dchi@uw.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We evaluated the relationship between financial hardship and self-reported oral health for older men and women.

METHODS:

We focused on adults in the 2008 Health and Retirement Study (n = 1,359). The predictor variables were 4 financial hardship indicators. We used Poisson regression models to estimate the prevalence ratio of poor self-reported oral health.

RESULTS:

In the non-gender-stratified model, number of financial hardships was not significantly associated with self-reported oral health. Food insecurity was associated with a 12% greater prevalence of poor self-reported oral health (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04, 1.21). In the gender-stratified models, women with 3 or more financial hardships had a 24% greater prevalence of poor self-reported oral health than women with zero (95% CI = 1.09, 1.40). Number of hardships was not associated with self-reported oral health for men. For men, skipping medications was associated with 50% lower prevalence of poor self-reported oral health (95% CI = 0.32, 0.76).

CONCLUSIONS:

Number of financial hardships was differentially associated with self-reported oral health for older men and women. Most financial hardship indicators affected both genders similarly. Future interventions to improve vulnerable older adults' oral health should account for gender-based heterogeneity in financial hardship experiences.

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