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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2015 Aug;43(4):325-37. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12157. Epub 2015 Feb 16.

The association between current unemployment and clinically determined poor oral health.

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Department of Public Health Dentistry, Institute of Dentistry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Oral Public Health, Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Oral and Maxillofacial Department, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Environmental Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Kuopio, Finland.
National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.



The aim of this study was to assess whether current unemployment was associated with poor oral health and whether there was a difference in oral health according to the duration of the current unemployment.


As part of the Health 2000 Survey in Finland (a nationwide comprehensive health examination survey), we used its data based on interviews, questionnaires, and clinical oral examinations of the 30- to 63-year-old respondents (n = 4773). Current employment status was measured in its dichotomous form, employed versus unemployed, and length of current unemployment was classified into four categories. We measured oral health in terms of numbers of missing teeth, of sound teeth, of filled teeth, of decayed teeth, and of teeth with deepened periodontal pockets (≥4 mm, ≥6 mm). Poisson regression models were fitted for all oral health outcomes except number of decayed teeth, for which negative binomial regression model was used. Oral health-related behaviors and sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors were added to the analyses.


The unemployed subjects had higher numbers of missing teeth, of decayed teeth, and of teeth with periodontal pockets than the employed ones. The association remained consistent even after adjustments. Oral health-related behaviors seemed to mediate the association. We found no association between unemployment and number of sound teeth. Current long-term unemployment showed stronger association with poor oral health than short-term among women.


The unemployed can be considered as a risk group for poor oral health. Oral healthcare should be reoriented toward those who are unemployed.


dental health; oral health; oral health-related behaviors; socioeconomic status; unemployment

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