Effects of Maternal Health on Child Utilization of Dental Care among Medicaid and CHIP Participants: Results from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH)




Patel, Devang A.
Sadath, Mohammad
Deen, Briar
Rendon, Alexis
Lueke, Mark
Davis, Ann
Homan, Sharon


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Introduction: Understanding the preventive dental health care utilization of children is essential to reducing child dental disease rates in low income families. Previous studies have not examined the relationship between the mother’s health status and the child’s dental care utilization. The aim of this study is to examine the association between maternal health status and use of preventive dental care among children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP programs. Methods: We conducted a cross sectional study of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP programs. A sample of 88,460 children was obtained from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). We used multivariable logistic regression modeling (SAS 9.3) to estimate the adjusted odds ratio for having at least one dental visit in the past 12 months associated with self-reported maternal health. We statistically adjusted for child’s age, sex, maternal education, family structure, and parental satisfaction with the child’s health care provider. Results: Our key result is that children of mothers with excellent or very good health were 2.48 times more likely (95% CI 1.41-4.38) to have visited the dentist in the last year as compared to children of mothers with poor general health. There was a 45% reduction in access to dental health care when maternal health status decreased from excellent or very good status to good or fair health status. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that poor maternal health status decreases the likelihood that children will have an annual dental visit. Preventive dental outreach efforts and programs are needed to target these children.