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1 in 6 Kentucky adults have not visited a dentist in past 5 years

6 in 10 have gone to the dentist in the past year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 27, 2014) — New data from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) show the challenges Kentucky adults who are lower income, uninsured or living in rural areas face in getting dental care. Overall, KHIP found six in 10 (64 percent) Kentucky adults went to the dentist in the past year while one in six (15 percent) had not visited a dentist’s office in five years or more.

file0001295393006“Oral health is critical to overall health,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, president/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “The latest KHIP findings remind us of the ways economics and geography impact Kentuckians’ oral health and access to care.”

KHIP highlights include:

♦ About half (48 percent) Kentucky adults with income at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) reported seeing a dentist in the past year, compared to eight in 10 (81 percent) of those with incomes above 200 percent FPL.

♦ Just over half (51 percent) of adults who live in Appalachian visited a dentist in the past year compared to seven in 10 (71 percent) of adults living outside Appalachia.

♦ More than seven in 10 (73 percent) of those who define their overall health as very good or excellent went to the dentist in the past year while only 50 percent of those who said their overall health is fair or poor, went the dentist.

♦ One in four (24 percent) said their physician has asked about their oral or dental health. Adults whose physicians asked about their oral health were more likely to visit a dentist (73 percent) than those who were not asked by a physician (62 percent).

♦ Seventy percent of those who said they had insurance reported a dental visit within the past year. Only four in 10 (43 percent) respondents who said they were not insured went to the dentist.

KHIP was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. The poll was conducted Oct. 25 through Nov. 26 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.  A random sample of 1,551 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of ±2.5 percent.

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