The results show the challenges Kentucky adults who are lower income, uninsured
or living in rural areas face in getting dental care, said the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which sponsors the poll with Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. “Oral health is critical to overall health,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, president of the foundation.
The poll, taken Oct. 25 through Nov. 26, found that 64.4 percent of Kentucky adults went to the dentist in the past year. Another 8.5 percent said they had been in the previous year, 10.4 percent said their last visit was three to five years ago, and 14.6 percent said it has been more than five years. Two percent of Kentuckians polled said they had never been to a dentist.
Among those who defines their overall health as very good or excellent, 73 percent had a dental visit in the previous year while only half of those who said their overall health is fair or poor said they did.
Dental insurance is relatively rare, so income is a major factor in seeing after oral health. Among Kentucky adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty threshold, making them eligible for Medicaid, 48 percent reported seeing a dentist in the past year. Among those with incomes more than double the threshold, the figure was 81 percent. Among those who said they had insurance, 70 percent reported a dental visit, while only 43 percent of the uninsured said they did.
Just over half
(51%) of adults who live in Appalachian Kentucky visited a dentist in the past year
compared to seven in ten (71%) of adults living outside Appalachia.
has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.