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J Formos Med Assoc. 2012 Oct;111(10):567-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2011.06.010. Epub 2012 May 5.

Mortality among dentists in Taiwan, 1985-2009.

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Bureau of International Cooperation, Department of Health, Executive Yuan, Taipei City, Taiwan.



Controversy exists in the literature regarding whether dentists with multiple occupational exposures suffer from premature mortality. A cohort mortality study was conducted to evaluate the survival outcome and determine if potential exposure to harmful agents leads to premature mortality among dentists.


Using the Life Table Analysis System, we calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for a cohort of 11,700 dentists affiliated with the Taiwan Dental Association. These dentists were followed from 1985-2009. Reference rates were derived from cause-, gender-, and age-specific mortality rates of the general population of Taiwan and 18,664 Taiwanese internists, who were considered to be more socioeconomically proximal to dentists. A Cox proportional hazard model was also constructed to determine multiple risk factors associated with mortality.


Compared with the general population, dentists in Taiwan consistently demonstrated reduced from all-cause mortality. However, compared with internists, significant and excess mortality were observed in dentists for overall mortality (SMR=1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.00-1.26), drowning (SMR=6.62; 95% CI=2.15-15.45), and heart diseases (SMR=1.66; 95% CI=1.22-2.21). After adjusting for other risk factors, the Cox model showed an increased hazard ratio of 1.17 (95% CI=1.01-1.37) for dentists.


Taiwanese dentists demonstrated significant elevated SMRs for overall causes, drowning, and heart diseases. Careful precaution should be taken to reduce these trends. Future studies are also needed for in-depth exploration of the mechanisms regarding how professional stress and exposure contribute to the increased risk of mortality in Taiwanese dentists.

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