Use of dental services by the middle‐aged and the elderly in Hong Kong

Eli Schwarz, Edward C.M. Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Abstract The objectives of this analysis were to describe the dental service use pattern of the 35–44‐ and 65–74‐yr‐old age groups and to determine to what extent this pattern could be explained by selected sociodemographic and attitudinal variables. The study populations comprised 398 35–44‐yr‐old and 559 65–74‐yr‐old Hong Kong Chinese. Use of dental services was determined on the basis of the respondents' own perception of the regularity of their dental visits and by the time since the last denial visit. The younger groups was categorized into regular users, irregular users, and nonusers, and the older group was categorized into three groups according to last dental visit (within 2 yr, 2–5‐yr, 5 yr or more). A modification of the Andersen and Newman model for individual determinants of health care use was used as the framework for a logistic regression analysis. Predisposing variables were sex, education, occupation, altitudes, knowledge, preventive orientation, and dental anxiety; enabling variables were Family Possession Index, income, family support and access to a dental programme; need variables were perceived conditions of teeth, denial problems, denial pain, need for treatment, normative need for treatment, and denture wearing. In general, use of denial services was low. For the 35–44‐yr‐olds, the best regression model (sensitivity: 62%, specificity: 95%, overall correct classification: 88%) indicated that there was an increased probability of having a regular dental care pattern if respondents were prevention oriented, had access to a dental benefit programme, had not experienced pain, had a higher income, perceived their teeth as fair or poor, and perceived a need of treatment. For the 65–74‐yr‐olds, three variables remained in the final model (sensitivity: 51%, specificity: 68%, overall correct classification: 61%). Respondents who had not seen a dentist within the last 2 yr were more likely to have had pain and to know less about dental caries. As the number of teeth in need of treatment increased by 1, respondents were 1.09 times more likely not to have seen a dentist within 2 yr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-380
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity dentistry and oral epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • aged
  • dental care
  • dental health surveys
  • logistic models
  • socioeconomic factors
  • utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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