• The association between dental coverage and self-reported health in older adults

      Yang, Frances M; Kao, Solon T; Lundeen, Joran S; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2017)
      Background: For the older population of the United States, lack of dental insurance coverage is a substantial health problem. The purpose of the present study was to examine the longitudinal relationship between dental coverage and self-reported health among older adults. Methods: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative biennial cohort study of community-dwelling individuals, includes 19,595 adults (aged 50 and older) living in the United States. For the 2010, 2012, and 2014 waves, the independent variable of dental coverage and the outcome of self-reported health were examined. Results: At each time point, dental coverage for older adults had a positive association with self-reported health (parameter estimate, β=0.340, standard error (SE)=0.039, p<0.0001), controlling for sociodemographic variables of age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and the status of edentulism. There were no significant longitudinal effects for dental coverage associated with self-reported health. Conclusions: At each time point, the results show a positive association between having dental coverage and better self-reported health of older adults. This is relevant, because, in the United States, there is an increasing population of older people.