J Dent Hyg Sci.  2020 Jun;20(2):67-73. 10.17135/jdhs.2020.20.2.67.

Impact of Social Support on Subjective Oral Health Status among Elderly People

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, Daejeon Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 35408, Korea
  • 2Department of Dental Hygiene, Kyungbok University, Pocheon 11138, Korea
  • 3Department of Dental Hygiene, Wonkwang Health Science University, Iksan 54538, Korea

Abstract

Background
Owing to the increase in the aging population, the health problems of the elderly have become important social problems. Social support has a positive effect on improving the quality of life and prolonging the life of elderly people. It is one of the major factors that affects the oral health status of elderly people. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between oral health status and social support in elderly people using representative data.
Methods
In this study, data from a community health survey in 2015 involving 63,929 elderly people aged over 65 years were analyzed. T-test and ANOVA analyses were performed to compare the general characteristics of and perception about social support. Additionally, a linear regression analysis was performed to confirm the relationship between perceptions about social support and subjective oral health status.
Results
We found that sex, age, household income, education level, the presence of a spouse, existence of an unmet dental need, and regular oral check-up had a significant effect on subjective oral health status (p<0.05). In addition, when controlled for all factors, social support has a significant impact on subjective oral health status.
Conclusion
The findings indicate that social support is associated with the subjective oral health status of Korean elderly. This suggests that community-level or government investment is required to improve the oral health of the elderly. In particular, policy interventions such as the establishment of facilities that promote social networks, especially facilities based on friendship networks, are needed.

Keyword

Aged; Oral health; Social support
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