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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(10), 3465-3483; doi:10.3390/ijerph9103465
Article

Socio-Environmental Factors Associated with Self-Rated Oral Health in South Africa: A Multilevel Effects Model

1
 and
2,*
1 School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa 2 Department of Community Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 July 2012 / Revised: 17 September 2012 / Accepted: 25 September 2012 / Published: 2 October 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Determinants of Oral Health)
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Abstract

Aim: This study examined the influence of the social context in which people live on self-ratings of their oral health. Method: This study involved a representative sample of 2,907 South African adults (≥16 years) who participated in the 2007 South African Social Attitude Survey (SASAS). We used the 2005 General Household Survey (n = 107,987 persons from 28,129 households) to obtain living environment characteristics of SASAS participants, including sources of water and energy, and household cell-phone ownership (a proxy measure for the social network available to them). Information obtained from SASAS included socio-demographic data, respondents’ level of trust in people, oral health behaviors and self-rated oral health. Results: Of the respondents, 76.3% self-rated their oral health as good. Social context influenced women’s self-rated oral health differently from that of men. Good self-rated oral health was significantly higher among non-smokers, employed respondents and women living in areas with higher household cell-phone ownership. Furthermore, trust and higher social position were associated with good self-rated oral health among men and women respectively. Overall, 55.1% and 18.3% of the variance in self-rated oral health were explained by factors operating at the individual and community levels respectively. Conclusion: The findings highlight the potential role of social capital in improving the population’s oral health.
Keywords: self-rated oral health; social capital; mixed-effects model; cell-phone ownership; trust; South Africa self-rated oral health; social capital; mixed-effects model; cell-phone ownership; trust; South Africa
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Olutola, B.G.; Ayo-Yusuf, O.A. Socio-Environmental Factors Associated with Self-Rated Oral Health in South Africa: A Multilevel Effects Model. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 3465-3483.

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