J Korean Acad Oral Health.  2018 Mar;42(1):16-23. 10.11149/jkaoh.2018.42.1.16.

Relationship between unmet dental needs and the general and oral health status of adults

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, Dong-Eui University, Busan, Korea. yamako93@deu.ac.kr

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate the reasons for unmet dental needs in Korea and to find ways to improve dental care accessibility by using data from the 6th National Health and Nutrition Survey.
METHODS
This study was performed using data collected from the 6th National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). A total of 2,251 subjects were selected for the study. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 21.0 on data files obtained according to complex sampling design, and a significance level of 0.05 was used. General characteristics of the subjects, oral health status, and unmet dental needs were examined for a complex sampling frequency analysis, and the differences in distribution were analyzed using chi-square analysis. Relevant factors were determined using logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS
According to the logistic regression analysis, in Model 1, gender, household income, employment status, and subjective health status were found to be significantly related to unmet dental needs (P<0.05). In Model 2, subjective health status, subjective oral health status, and chewing difficulty were significantly related to unmet dental needs (P<0.001). Model 3 showed a significant relationship between subjective health status, subjective oral health status, chewing difficulty, periodontal disease, and unmet dental needs (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS
We conclude that the reasons for the unmet dental needs in Korea are socioeconomic status, general health status, and oral health status. In the future, economic barriers to obtaining dental care need to be overcome through improvements in health insurance policies and systems and diversification of private insurance. Oral health should be improved through oral health education, which can create awareness and provide motivation for maintaining oral health.

Keyword

Access to dental care; Adult; Economic burden; General characteristic; Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (KNHNE); Unmet dental need
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