Background: Oral health service utilization contributes to positive oral health and indicates realised access to services. The study aimed to describe patterns of oral health service use among overseas-born and Australian-born populations and assess equity in access to services.
Methods: The study used data from Australia's National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-2018 and was guided by the Aday and Andersen framework of access to health and Australia's National Oral Health Plan. Descriptive analyses of service use by perceived need, enabling and predisposing factors were compared between four groups: Australian-born and overseas-born who mainly speak English and Australian-born and overseas-born who mainly speak a language other than English.
Results: Overseas-born who mainly speak a language other than English experienced greater oral health care inequity, largely driven by financial difficulty (avoided care due to cost: 42% vs 27%-28%; avoided/delayed visiting due to cost: 48% vs. 37%-38%; cost prevented treatment: 32% vs. 18%-24%). The most favourable visiting patterns were among the Australian-born population who speak a language other than English.
Conclusions: The study shows clear inequity experienced among immigrants in accessibility as measured through indicators of oral health care utilization and factors related to inequity, such as the ability to pay for services.
- Health monitoring
- oral health care inequalities
- oral health service utilization
- perceived dental treatment need