We evaluated the relationship between financial hardship and self-reported oral health for older men and women.Methods
We focused on adults in the 2008 Health and Retirement Study (n = 1359). The predictor variables were 4 financial hardship indicators. We used Poisson regression models to estimate the prevalence ratio of poor self-reported oral health.Results
In the non-gender-stratified model, number of financial hardships was not significantly associated with self-reported oral health. Food insecurity was associated with a 12% greater prevalence of poor self-reported oral health (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04, 1.21). In the gender-stratified models, women with 3 or more financial hardships had a 24% greater prevalence of poor self-reported oral health than women with zero (95% CI = 1.09, 1.40). Number of hardships was not associated with self-reported oral health for men. For men, skipping medications was associated with 50% lower prevalence of poor self-reported oral health (95% CI = 0.32, 0.76).Conclusions
Number of financial hardships was differentially associated with self-reported oral health for older men and women. Most financial hardship indicators affected both genders similarly. Future interventions to improve vulnerable older adults’ oral health should account for gender-based heterogeneity in financial hardship experiences.