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Differences in Oral Health Status between Rural and Urban Populations of Korean Elders: A Population-Based Study from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey VI (2013∼2015)
J Dent Hyg Sci 2019;19:181-9
Published online September 30, 2019;
© 2019 Korean Society of Dental Hygiene Science.

Yong-Keum Choi1 , Eun-Jeong Kim2,†

1Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Health Science and Genome-based BioIT Convergence Institute, Sun Moon University, Asan 31460, 2Dental Research Institution, School of Dentistry, Seoul National University, Seoul 03080, Korea
Correspondence to: Eun-Jeong Kim,
Dental Research Institution, School of Dentistry, Seoul National University, 101 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03080, Korea
Tel: +82-2-740-8782, Fax: +82-2-766-8781, E-mail:
Received July 25, 2019; Revised August 21, 2019; Accepted August 26, 2019.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background:Edentulism is associated with socioeconomic status, rural residence, and chronic disease, but no studies have investigated edentulism and residence factors together. All information that drives a better understanding of the factors related to edentulism plays an important role in the planning and delivery of appropriate dental services for the elderly by national and oral health professionals. This study was designed to investigate the prevalence of edentulism in adults aged over 60 years in Korea and to examine whether there are differences in dentate status between people living in urban and rural areas after controlling for sociodemographic and other related factors.
Methods: The data for this study were collected from 2013 to 2015 as part of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Ⅵ, those individuals aged over 60 years and who had complete datasets were included (5,071). The number of teeth and residence status were categorized into two groups: edentate and dentate (1 or more); urban and rural. Multiple multivariate logistic regression analyses were sequentially applied to assess the association between dentate status and residence status after adjusting for potential confounders.
Results:Rural areas, lower household income, and lower education levels were associated with a higher edentate rate. The number of teeth was lower in rural areas than in urban areas. After adjusting for various factors, statistically significant associations were present for women, low household income, low education level, poor perceived health status, and alcohol consumption in participants.
Conclusion:Elders living in rural areas had poorer oral health than elders living in urban areas. The government will need to provide effective systems for promoting oral health for elders living in rural areas.
Keywords : Aged, Oral health, Residence characteristics

September 2019, 19 (3)
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