Richard J. Manski, John F. Moeller and Haiyan Chen with the Division of Health Services Research, University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore, Patricia A. St. Clair of the Rand Corp., Jody Schimmel of the Mathematica Policy Research Inc. in Washington examined the relationship between changes in household finances and going to the dentist.
The researchers used data from the Health and Retirement Study of U.S. adults ages 51 years and older during 2006 and 2008 -- before and after the Great Recession.
"We found only when household wealth falls by 50 percent or more were older adults less likely to seek dental care," the study authors said in a statement. "Changes in household income and other changes in household wealth were not associated with changes in dental utilization among this population."
Older Americans' dental care utilization appeared to be fairly resilient to changes in household finances, the study said.
The findings were published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry.