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Can J Public Health. 2017 Mar 1;107(6):e538-e544. doi: 10.17269/cjph.107.5454.

Investigating the "inverse care law" in dental care: A comparative analysis of Canadian jurisdictions.

Author information

1
Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON. armita.dehmoobadsharifabad@alum.utoronto.ca.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare physician and dentist visits nationally and at the provincial/territorial level and to assess the extent of the "inverse care law" in dental care among different age groups in the same way.

METHODS:

Publicly available data from the 2007 to 2008 Canadian Community Health Survey were utilized to investigate physician and dentist visits in the past 12 months in relation to self-perceived general and oral health by performing descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression, controlling for age, sex, education, income, and physician/dentist population ratios. Analysis was conducted for all participants and stratified by age groups - children (12-17 years), adults (18-64 years) and seniors (65 years and over).

RESULTS:

Nationally and provincially/territorially, it appears that the "inverse care law" persists for dental care but is not present for physician care. Specifically, when comparing to those with excellent general/oral health, individuals with poor general health were 2.71 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.70-2.72) times more likely to visit physicians, and individuals with poor oral health were 2.16 (95% CI: 2.16-2.17) times less likely to visit dentists. Stratified analyses by age showed more variability in the extent of the "inverse care law" in children and seniors compared to adults.

CONCLUSIONS:

The "inverse care law" in dental care exists both nationally and provincially/territorially among different age groups. Given this, it is important to assess the government's role in improving access to, and utilization of, dental care in Canada.

PMID:
28252372
DOI:
10.17269/cjph.107.5454
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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