South African Dental Journal
versão On-line ISSN 0375-1562
OBJECTIVES: The study sought to determine barriers to accessing oral health services amongst the elderly residing in retirement villages in Johannesburg. The objectives were to determine the normative and perceived oral health needs, the barriers experienced and the predictors of oral health utilisation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study. Three hundred and eight (n=308) participants were recruited from 10 retirement villages in Johannesburg. Data were collected from questionnaires and clinical oral examinations assessing the DMFT and CPITN scores. RESULTS: The clinical findings of the oral health status indicated a caries experience of 46%, whilst 58% of participants suffered from periodontal conditions. Sixty four percent (64%) acknowledged the need to visit a dentist, however only 28% of the study population had utilised oral health care in the past 12 months, due to perceived barriers. The barriers most frequently reported included the belief that they were not able to afford dental treatment and the lack of transport availability. The multivariate analysis indicated that a significant positive predictor of utilisation was Perceived Need. CONCLUSION: Though oral health access was freely available in the public sector and normative and perceived need for oral health care were high, the barriers experienced prevented 72% of the participants from utilising oral health services.