Cost-related dental non-attendance in older adulthood: evidence from eleven European countries and Israel

Gerodontology. 2016 Jun;33(2):253-9. doi: 10.1111/ger.12151. Epub 2014 Sep 10.


Background: Although relevant for health policy, so far only little is known about the extent to which persons avoid dental attendance because of associated costs.

Objectives: To examine the cost-relatedness of dental non-attendance in various older adulthood populations.

Material and methods: Secondary analyses were conducted of data from wave 1 of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which includes unique information on recent dental non-attendance and care foregone due to costs by persons aged 50+ from eleven European countries and Israel. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to detect differences in the extent to which dental non-attendance is attributable to associated costs.

Results: The study sample comprised 13 935 persons who did not access dental care within the past year. Levels of cost-related non-attendance differed between the twelve examined countries, ranging from 6.8% in Israel to 0.5% in Austria. Cost-related non-attendance was 47% less likely among persons with good as compared to compromised chewing ability (Odds Ratio: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.43-0.66). Cost-related non-attendance was 33% less likely among persons with tertiary as compared to (pre-) primary educational attainment (Odds Ratio: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.47-0.96). Cost-related dental non-attendance was significantly more likely among persons with low levels of general health (Odds Ratio for lowest vs. highest level of general health: 3.05; 95% CI: 1.88-4.95).

Conclusions: The findings of the present study suggest that a relatively small proportion of dental non-attendance in older adulthood is cost-related. For specific population subgroups in various countries, however, dental care costs may still pose a relevant barrier to dental care.

Keywords: costs; dental care; dental non-attendance; elders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dental Care / economics*
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Care for Aged / economics
  • Dental Care for Aged / statistics & numerical data
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors