Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) are chronic systemic conditions that can have a profound effect on oral health as the result of physical disability, immunosuppressant and other medications and autoimmune disease. However, there is insufficient information available on the use of dental services by the people suffering from RA or OA. The purpose of this study was to investigate dental visits and factors associated with dental attendance in those with RA and OA in order to improve access to dental care in these groups.Methods: The study used population based data from the 1995 National Health Survey (total n=53 828). The main variables of interest were reported RA (n=1193) and OA (n=3091) and the main outcome variable was having visited a dental professional in the previous 12 months. Chi-square analysis was performed using SAS software.Results: The proportion of people visiting a dental professional in previous 12 months was significantly less in both RA and OA respondents compared to non-arthritic respondents. Both males and females with RA and OA were found to be less likely to have visited a dental professional when compared to general population (p=0.001 in each case). Furthermore, the findings have revealed that RA and OA patients living in metropolitan centres were more likely to have a dental visit than those living in rural or remote areas (p=0.001 in each case).Conclusions: When compared to non-arthritic subjects, all patients with RA and OA were less likely to receive dental care, in particular preventive care. This is especially important in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome and those who are immunosuppressed.
|Journal||Australian Dental Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|