Utilization of dental health services and its associated factors among adult population in Ernakulam district, Kerala, India: a mixed-method analysis
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Amrita School of Dentistry, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi, India
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi, India
Amrita School of Dentistry, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1438
Background and Objective: Oral diseases are highly prevalent also there exists an inequality in dental healthcare utilization in India, further complexed by its excessive diverse population characteristics. Understanding patterns and why/why not individuals utilize dental healthcare resources is an essential requirement for effective public health-policy interventions for the equitable distribution of oral health outcomes. Our objective was to assess the utilization of dental health services and its associated factors along with barriers and facilitators among adults in a district in India using the Anderson healthcare model for healthcare utilization. Methods: A community-based mixed-method concurrent study was conducted among adults in selected urban and rural district wards using cluster sampling method. The quantitative part was carried out with a pre-validated questionnaire assessing the pre-disposing factors, enabling resources, need for care, health behaviors and oral health outcomes. Qualitative arm was based on in-depth interviews for assessing the barriers and facilitators for oral health utilization. Univariate and multivariate analysis were used for the former and thematic analysis for the latter, meta inferences followed. Results: A total of 544 participants were included. The dental health utilization was found to be 15.4% among the participants. Age and education were significantly associated with dental healthcare utilization. The level of education, presence of pain and self-consciousness of oral diseases were independent predictors(p<0.05). In-depth interviews among 27 participants identified financial concerns and structural factors, dental service provider factors and individual factors as key themes. Financial restraints and access difficulties were some of the barriers and trust in service provider and availability were facilitators. Conclusions: There exists a gap between the perceived need and actual utilization of dental health care. To increase the utilization of dental health services it is necessary to improve the availability of public dental health care facilities and promote oral health awareness at all levels.
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