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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1994 Oct;22(5 Pt 2):364-8.

Chinese health beliefs and oral health practices among the middle-aged and the elderly in Hong Kong.

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Department of Preventive Dentistry, National University of Singapore.


The purpose of this paper was to study possible relationships between traditional Chinese health beliefs and health practices in adult Chinese in a modernized society. The study populations comprised 398 35-44-yr-old and 559 65-74-yr-old Hong Kong Chinese. The respondents were categorized into three groups with weak, moderate, or strong Chinese beliefs on the basis of interview questions on the causes of gum disease. Chinese preventive practices and Chinese pain practices were defined according to respondents' reported use of recommended traditional cures. Questions on generally accepted oral practices were phrased in terms of frequency of daily brushing of teeth, use of toothpicks the previous day, and whether or not teeth were flossed the previous day. Around one-third of the respondents had weak, almost one-half had moderate, and around one-quarter expressed strong Chinese health beliefs. No significant differences in Chinese health beliefs were found between men and women in either age group, or between the age groups. In the 35-44 age group, more of those with a higher education were in the "weak" Chinese health belief category, whereas, conversely, more of those with a lower education expressed stronger Chinese health beliefs (P < 0.05). Women in both age groups reported significantly more frequent brushing. Toothpicks were used by around three-quarters of both age groups, but flossing was extremely rare.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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