Original Article

A study on the relationship between socioeconomic level and oral health: analysis of data from the Sixth Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey

Ae-Hee Song   Hye-Jeong Youn1,*   

1Department of Dental Hygiene, Chunnam Techno University
2Departnent of Dental hygiene, Suwon Women's University

Abstract

Objectives: In this study, both subjective and objective levels of oral health were used to identify the relationship between oral health inequalities. Methods: Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey data from 2013 to 2015 were combined to create an analysis plan. Oral health questions categorized as subjective oral health conditions and oral health-related diseases used dental tissue disease status as data measured by the Community Periodical Index(CPI) and decayed, missing, filled teeth(DMFT) experience. Other data on oral health behaviors such as toothache experience, the frequency of toothbrush use, chewing problems, oral examination status, and unmet dental care needs were classified and analyzed according to the socioeconomic level. Data were analyzed using frequency and cross analyses, and the statistical significance level was set at 0.05. Results: It was found that higher the economic and educational level, better was the subjective oral health, lower the CPI, lower the experience of toothache, higher the frequency of toothbrush use, lower the number of people having chewing problems, and higher the frequency of oral checkups. Conclusions: Oral health inequality exists among social classes. It is suggested that continuous research and efforts be carried out to promote oral health while considering socioeconomic and educational levels. Further, active government efforts will be needed to address polarization by social class.

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