J Korean Acad Oral Health.  2017 Dec;41(4):282-289. 10.11149/jkaoh.2017.41.4.282.

Effect of social support and self-esteem on the oral health behaviors of Korean elderly people

  • 1Department of Preventive & Community Dentistry, Chonbuk National University Dental School, Jeonju, Korea. prevdent@chonbuk.ac.kr
  • 2Institute of Oral-Bio Science, Chonbuk National University Dental School, Jeonju, Korea.


This study aimed to determine the oral health behaviors and the relationships between social support, self-esteem, and oral health behaviors.
The institutions were selected based on the “2016 Elderly Welfare Facilities Status.” A total of 195 people participated in interviews conducted using a 39-item questionnaire. It included information on the following topics: a) sociodemographic and health-related characteristics (11 items), b) oral health behaviors (6), c) social support (12), and d) self-esteem (10). Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, a reliability test, a t-test, an ANOVA, a Pearson's correlation test, and a stepwise multiple regression, conducted using the SPSS 23.0 program.
Of the 195 participants, 165 (84.6%) brushed their teeth twice a day; however only 74 (38.0%) participants used oral care products. Although many (64.6%) elderly people visited a dentist at least once a year, only a few (24.6%) visited the dentist for preventive purposes. Oral health behaviors had a positive correlation with self-esteem, significant others' support, and friends'support (.337, .270, and .254, respectively; P<.01). According to the multiple regression analysis, self-esteem, significant others' support, perceived health status, number of existing permanent teeth, friends' support, degree of exercise, gender, and average monthly expenditure had a significant effect on the participants' oral health behaviors.
We demonstrated that social support and self-esteem might be major predictors of oral health behaviors. These results suggest that psychosocial factors need to be taken into account in the oral health education provided for elderly people.


Elderly; Oral health behavior; Self-esteem; Social support
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