Low income and dental health
Previous analysis has shown that the level of income has got a significant effect on different dimensions of dental health and dental health care in the Norwegian population aged 21 or older. Among other things evidence has been shown that low income measured by the EU-definition is closely related to bad self-reported dental health, bad dental status and irregular use of dental health care (Ekornrud and Jensen 2010b, 2013). There are other measures for low income that could be brought into the analysis to shed more light over low income groups. Additionally there is reason to believe that low income groups are heterogeneous in the way that they include people that have low income of different medical, social or other reasons.
There are four objectives that form the basis of the report. Firstly, different approaches to the term of low income are presented and discussed. Secondly, the characteristics of those who are included in low income groups are described. Thirdly, some of the findings from the description of low income groups are analyzed and discussed. Fourthly, the report addresses further work to be done in the future to strengthen the knowledge. For each of the objectives there are listed some more specific problems that are addressed.
There are more similarities than differences between the low income groups in question despite different definitions and criteria of inclusion. The groups are defined by the EU-definition, the OECD-definition and the quintile-definition respectively and the results are quite consistent across the definitions both by demographical, socioeconomically, regional and some health and living condition characteristics. On the other side there are quite significant differences between low income groups and high income groups. Furthermore, analysis suggest that some groups of benefit recipients are worse off as they experience what could be described as an accumulation of bad health and living conditions.
Two sources of information should be used to establish more evidence based knowledge of the dental health care in Norway. On the one hand the database Kontroll og utbetaling av helserefusjonar (KUHR) managed by the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO) includes national data concerning reimbursements of dental health care according to the Insurance Act and other relevant legislation. On the other hand the Swedish Tandhälsoregistret managed by The National Board of Health and Welfare could provide information both related to reimbursements and dental health that could be of general validity for Norwegian conditions.