Agricultural worker families encounter multiple barriers to accessing all needed dental care. This study investigated predisposing, enabling, and need factors associated with children’s past year dental utilization among Hispanic agricultural worker families in central California.
Oral health survey and clinical data were collected from families participating in a larger, population-based study in 2006-7. Generalized estimating equation logit regression assessed effects on a dental visit among children aged 0-17 (n=405). Analyses adjusted for clustering of children in the same household. Predisposing (sociodemographics), enabling (child’s dental insurance, usual source of dental care, caregiver past year dental visit, acculturation level, income and education), and need (caregiver’s oral health rating, perception of cavities, and clinically-determined treatment urgency) factors were examined.
Half (51%) the children had a past year dental visit, while 23% had never been to a dentist. In the final model, children were less likely to have a past year dental visit if they were foreign-born, male, had caregivers that thought they had cavities or were unsure, and if the dentist recommended treatment ‘at earliest convenience’. Children aged 6-12, with a regular dental care source, and whose caregivers had a recent dentist visit were more likely to have a past year dental visit.
Children were more likely to have a past year dental visit if they had a usual source of dental care (OR =4.78, CI=2.51-9.08), and if the caregiver had a past year dental visit (OR=1.88, CI=1.04-3.38). Emphasis should be placed on these two modifiable factors to increase children’s dental utilization.