Objectives: This study described the association between dental care service utilization and two domains of social relationships (social integration and social support) among older adults. Methods: The study employed data from the 2008 Health and Retirement Study, examining regression models for whether a person visited a dentist in the past 2 years, including adjustments for demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics. Results: Social interaction, social participation, neighborhood cohesion, and marital status were related to an increased likelihood of having visited a dentist. Older persons exhibiting loneliness and having received financial aid from network members demonstrated a decreased likelihood of visiting a dentist. The increased likelihood of visiting a dentist when a child lives nearby only occurred after introducing health covariates. Discussion: The article discusses the implications of the study findings as they relate to social relationships and oral health and recommends some additional research directions to explore the etiology of dental care use.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies