Diabetic patients are advised to have at least one dental examination per year. It is unclear to what extent different subgroups of US diabetic adults closely follow this recommendation. Thus, we assessed dental care utilization and related factors in a representative sample of US diabetic adults from rural and urban counties.
Cross-sectional data were from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Survey logistic regression was used to account for the complex sampling design.
Among 40,585 eligible participants, 24,887 (60% of the population) had at least one dental visit for any reason within the past year. The lowest compliance was observed among edentulous participants (27%, adjusted OR = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.22–0.31 vs. fully dentate). Dental compliance was also negatively associated with having a lower income or education, ever being a smoker, or having barriers to access to care. Rural residents had lower dental compliance compared to urban residents, particularly those without healthcare coverage.
Dental compliance among US adult diabetic individuals was low, particularly among rural residents, and as compared to other recommended diabetic care practices. Future public health interventions may target rural individuals without healthcare coverage, smokers and edentulous individuals. There is a need to integrate dental and medical care to facilitate cross-talks among different health professionals, so that educational preventive messages are reinforced at every healthcare visit.