Patterns of preventive dental behavior.
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Patterns of preventive dental behavior.

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  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      Preventive dental behavior was examined using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1971-75 conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. Most research to date has dealt with the use of all types of dental services, with relatively few studies focusing on utilization of dental services for preventive purposes or on preventive dental behavior. Economic theory on the demand for health services and the Andersen model of health services utilization were applied to examine predisposing, enabling, and need characteristics which may influence use of preventive dental health services and preventive dental behavior. The associations between each of three measures of preventive dental behavior and the three sets of characteristics from Andersen's model were analyzed using multiple regression analysis. The enabling factors (income and a regular source of care) were the most important determinants of use of preventive dental services. Need characteristics, measured by self-evaluated condition of teeth, were also significant determinants of use, while the predisposing variables were the least important of the three types. In contrast, for the home care measure, frequency of brushing, the predisposing variables were the most important, with gender and education ranking highest. Consideration of these results may be useful to health educators and to those who formulate policies affecting the distribution of preventive dental services and dental insurance coverage.
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