Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine whether there is an educational gradient in dentition status among Japanese adults who are under the universal public health insurance system.
Methods: Subjects were 1201 community residents aged 55-75 years as of May 2005 who completed a self-administered questionnaire and had a standard clinical oral examination. Analysis focused on the association of three education levels (junior high school, senior high school, and any college or higher education) with dentition status.
Results: The proportion of subjects with 20 or more teeth (P < 0.001), number of teeth present (P = 0.037), number of filled teeth (P = 0.016), and two types of functional tooth units (FTUs): FTUs with natural teeth (n-FTUs) (P < 0.001) and FTUs with natural teeth and artificial teeth on implant-supported and fixed prostheses (nif-FTUs) (P < 0.001) were significantly associated with education level after adjusting for confounders. The significant trend of these values in dental indexes indicated a poorer dentition status with a lower education level.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the level of education has an independent impact on dentition status in a group of Japanese adults, even after taking into account oral health-related factors. Therefore, providing appropriate oral health information from an early age within a compulsory school education program appears necessary to enhance health literacy and lessen the inequalities in dental health by educational level.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.