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Is clinical oral health poorer in regional areas compared with major city areas?

Authors

  • Leonard A. Crocombe PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. University Department of Rural Health, The University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania
    2. School of Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    • Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
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  • Judith F. Stewart BSc(Hons),

    1. Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
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  • David S. Brennan PhD,

    1. Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
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  • Gary D. Slade PhD,

    1. Department of Dental Ecology, UNC School of Dentistry, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • Andrew J. Spencer PhD

    1. Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
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Correspondence: Dr Leonard A. Crocombe, Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, 8000, Australia. Email: leonard.crocombe@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

Objective

To determine if clinical oral health outcomes differ between people who reside in major city, inner regional and outer regional areas of Australia.

Design

Data from the National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004–06 that used a clustered stratified random sampling design with telephone interviews, standardised oral epidemiological examinations and self-complete questionnaires were used to compare the clinical oral health.

Main outcome measures

Decayed, missing and filled permanent teeth.

Participants

Australians aged 15 years or more. Data were weighted by age, sex and regional location to the Estimated Resident Population, bivariate analysis undertaken to determine confounders and multivariate analysis completed with dental caries clinical measures as dependent variables.

Results

Inner regional people had a significantly higher decayed, missing and filled teeth than people from major cities (Estimate = 1.15, P < 0.01), but there was no difference between inner and regional areas. Older people had higher outcomes for decayed, missing and filled teeth (15.42, P < 0.01) and missing teeth (9.66, P < 0.01), but less decayed teeth (−0.37, P < 0.01), and people with the highest incomes had lower dental caries experience (−1.34, P < 0.01) and missing teeth (−1.42, P < 0.01).

Conclusion

Dental caries experience was greater in inner regional areas than in major city areas, but not outer regional areas. Dental caries experience was similar in outer regional and major city areas.

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