A retrospective secondary data analysis of the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients database was conducted to identify the demographic characteristics and correlates associated with reported need for dental care among people who are homeless in the United States. Overall, 10% of people who were homeless reported that dental care was their most needed service. Of these, 17% had a dental visit within the previous 12 months, 52% were racial/ethnic minorities, 76% lived in a central city, and 26% were veterans. The unadjusted odds for reporting a need for dental care was highest among veterans who were homeless and those whose last dental visit occurred more than 12 months ago. Compared to nonveterans who were homeless, veterans had twice the adjusted odds for reporting a need for dental care. The adjusted odds for reporting a need for dental care were lowest for those with dental insurance. Evaluation of the data suggests that dental insurance was associated with reporting lower need for dental care. Veterans who were homeless reported higher odds for dental care. Strengthening existing oral healthcare programs sensitive to the needs of people who are homeless may improve their oral health and reduce their dental- disease-related morbidity.
- Dental care
- Perceived need