To compare the dental-care utilization of elderly immigrants to that of non-immigrants in Canada.
Materials and Methods: This is a secondary data analysis of publicly available data from the 2008/09 Canadian Community Health Survey: Healthy Aging (CCHS-HA) component. The target population consisted of 30,865 people aged 45 years and above. A modified Andersen’s health-service utilization model was used as the framework for analysis, grouping predisposing (age, sex, marital status, immigrant status, time since immigration, smoking, alcohol use), enabling (Education, household income, dental insurance, social support), need (Self-reported health and self-reported oral health) and behavioural factors (Brushing and physician visit), to compare the dental care utilization between elderly immigrants and non-immigrants. Descriptive statistics and binary and multivariable logistic regressions were performed.
Results: Results for the entire population indicate age, sex, marital status, level of education and income, dental insurance, physician visit, smoking and self-reported oral health as significant predictors of dental visits. Predictors for utilization among immigrant seniors were: age, sex, marital status, social interaction, and level of education. Predictors for non-immigrant seniors included: age, level of education, household income, dental insurance, smoking, and self-reported oral health.
Conclusion: By comparing elderly immigrants and non-immigrants, this study draws attention to what influences dental care utilization in each group. Implications for oral health policy include integrating oral health insurance into Canada’s universal healthcare system, changes in legislation that improve the availability and access to dental insurance, and better utilization of existing dental public-health resources by including targeted services to elderly immigrants.