The Association Between Income Inequality and Oral Health in Canada: A Cross-Sectional Study.

International journal of health services : planning, administration, evaluation

PubMedID: 26979273

Moeller J, QuiƱonez C. The Association Between Income Inequality and Oral Health in Canada: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int J Health Serv. 2016;.
Societies exhibiting higher levels of economic inequality experience poorer health outcomes, and the proposed pathways used to explain these patterns are also relevant to oral health. This study therefore examines the relationship between the level of income inequality and the oral health and dental care services utilization of residents from eleven Canadian metropolitan areas. We calculated Pearson correlation coefficients (r) between each metropolitan area's Gini coefficient (used as a proxy for income inequality, calculated from 2006 Canadian census data) and each area's experience of dental pain, self-reported oral health, and use of dental care services (provided by data from the 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey). Greater levels of income inequality in the selected metropolitan areas were related to an increased likelihood of residents self-reporting their oral health as poor/fair and reporting a prolonged absence from visiting a dentist. There was, however, no relationship between the level of income inequality and the likelihood of respondents reporting a recent toothache, tooth sensitivity, or jaw pain. Policies designed to improve the oral health of the population, and Canadians' access to dental care generally, may therefore work best when supported by policies that promote greater economic equality within Canada.