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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 327; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030327

Is Accessibility to Dental Care Facilities in Rural Areas Associated with Number of Teeth in Elderly Residents?

1
Institute of General Education, Kyoto Sangyo University, Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8555, Japan
2
Department of Functional Pathology, Shimane University School of Medicine, 89-1 Enya-cho, Izumo, Shimane 693-8501, Japan
3
Center for Community-Based Health Research and Education (CoHRE), Organization for the Promotion of Project Research, Shimane University, 223-8 Enya-cho, Izumo, Shimane 693-8501, Japan
4
Tominaga Dental Office, 97-3 Yamada, Ohnan-cho, Ohchi, Shimane 696-0313, Japan
5
Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Clinical Research Centre (CRC), Building 28, Floor 11, Jan Waldenströms Gata 35, Skåne University Hospital, SE-205 02 Malmö, Sweden
6
Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Medical School Office Building (MSOB), 251 Campus Drive MC 5411, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 January 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Abstract

Given that public transportation networks are less developed in rural than in urban areas, a lack of accessibility to dental care facilities could be a barrier to routine dental checkups. Thus, we hypothesized that the distance to the dental care facilities is a risk factor for tooth loss. The aim of this study was to test whether there is an association between the distance to dental care facilities, estimated by geographic information systems, and number of teeth, assessed by an oral examination, among elderly residents of a rural area in Japan. Data were collected in 2016 from a cross-sectional study conducted in Shimane prefecture, Japan. After excluding participants with missing data (n = 21), we analyzed data from 710 participants. Of them, 40.6% were male and the mean (standard deviation) age was 67.4 (7.4) years. Further, 68.0% (n = 483) had at least 20 teeth. We found that the distance to dental care facilities was significantly associated with the number of teeth (less than 20) (odds ratio = 1.07, 95% confidence interval = 1.01–1.12) after adjustment for potential confounders. This result suggested that individuals without easy access to dental care facilities may be important targets for dental care. View Full-Text
Keywords: dental careaccessibility; number of teeth; rural area; cross-sectional study dental careaccessibility; number of teeth; rural area; cross-sectional study
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hamano, T.; Takeda, M.; Tominaga, K.; Sundquist, K.; Nabika, T. Is Accessibility to Dental Care Facilities in Rural Areas Associated with Number of Teeth in Elderly Residents? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 327.

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