Preventive dental care in older adults with diabetes

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Background—The association between poor oral health and diabetes is well documented. Therefore, preventive oral health is strongly indicated for individuals with diabetes. The purposes of this study were 1) to determine if there were a difference in preventive dental care utilization among older adults with diabetes from 2002 and 2011, and 2) to compare preventive dental care utilization of older adults with and without diabetes from 2002 and 2011. Methods—The data were from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. The sample included older, fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries (ages 65 years and above). The key outcome was selfreported preventive dental care. In 2002, there were 8,725 participants; in 2011, there were 7,425 participants. Chi square and logistic regressions were conducted. Results—In 2002, 28.8 % of participants with diabetes had preventive dental care. In 2011, this percentage increased to 36.0%. Similar results were seen among individuals without diabetes (42.9% in 2002 and 45.5% in 2011). The increase in preventive dental care was statistically significant for individuals with and without diabetes. The participants with diabetes, as compared with participants without diabetes, remained statistically less likely to have preventive dental carein adjusted logistic regression analysis with and without considering the interaction between observation year and diabetes (adjusted odds ratios= 0.73, and 0.86, respectively). Conclusion—While the increase in preventive dental care is welcoming, older adults with diabetes continue to have significant preventive dental care need. Practical Implication—Additional efforts are needed to encourage individuals with diabetes to obtain preventive dental care.