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J Public Health Dent. 2007 Summer;67(3):174-8.

Associations between missing teeth with unmet needs and socioeconomic status among South Korean dentate government employees.

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1
Craniomaxillofacial Life Science 21, Dental Research Institute, School of Dentistry, Seoul National University, Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study aims to examine associations between missing teeth with unmet needs (MTUN) and socioeconomic status, represented by income and place of residence.

METHODS:

The National Health Insurance Corporation dataset of 822,325 dentate Korean government employees' dental examinations results, questionnaire responses in the year 2000, and basic information collected for administrative purposes was used for this analysis. The main outcome variable was the number of MTUN, categorized into three groups: none, 1-2, and > or = 3. Explanatory variables were assessed and a multinomial logistic regression was employed.

RESULTS:

Seventy percent were men, with a mean age of 39.1 years (range 18 to 74). The mean number of MTUN was 0.34, and 19.1 percent had > or = 1 MTUN. After adjusting for other variables, age and income were the most salient independent predictors. Rural residents, men, older adults, persons having smoking experience, and persons visiting a dental clinic in the past year were more likely to have >1 MTUN than their counterparts. People performing frequent toothbrushing or having received professional scaling in the past year were less likely to have > or = 1 MTUN than their counterparts.

CONCLUSION:

Among South Korean government employees with a general dental care insurance benefit, exclusive of prosthetic services, having normative unmet prosthetic need was significantly associated with older age, lower income, and rural residence, taking into account other demographic factors, personal health practices, and dental service utilization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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