Barriers Affecting Dental Health Services Utilization among Community Dwelling Older Adults
Adequate access to oral health care services becomes essential, as it provides opportunities for health promotion, disease prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases. Objective: Assess the barriers affecting utilization of dental health services among community dwelling older adults. Setting: The geriatric outpatient clinics of specialized medical hospital, Mansoura University and general hospital, Ministry of Health. Subjects: 612 elderly persons aged 60 years and above. Tools: Older Adults' Sociodemgraphic and Clinical Data Structured Interview Schedule, Older Adults' Barriers to dental care utilization Structured Interview Schedule, Katz and Akpom Scale and Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT). Results: The most frequent barriers reported by the elders are high cost of dental services in 80.0%, followed by lack of awareness about the importance of dental checkup in 74.2%, fear of dental procedure in 63.1%, difficult transportation and long distance in 60.0% and bad past experience in 47.2%. Conclusion: The cost of dental care, lack of awareness about dental checkup, fear of dental procedure, difficult transportation and long distance were identified as main barriers toward utilization of dental services among elderly. Recommendations: Identifying older adults the available community dental health services affiliated to Mansoura city and motivating them to use these services.