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Socio-Economic Inequalities in Oral Health: The Case of Greece

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2014.616258    3,435 Downloads   4,090 Views Citations

ABSTRACT

Background: The literature on the socioeconomic determinants of oral health inequalities is rather limited. Since oral health is an integral part of general health, the investigation of oral and general health inequalities becomes an important research topic. The recent economic crisis has aggravated the level of general and oral health in Greece and evidence on inequalities is interesting for policy guidelines. Objective: The purpose of the present study is to measure the magnitude of self reported oral health inequalities in relation to certain demographic and socio-economic indicators such as gender, age, education and income status. Methods: We launched a cross-sectional survey across urban and rural population in Greece and we selected a random sample of 1500 individuals consisting of three age groups: 15 - 18 years, 35 - 45 years, and 65 to 74 years old. Self-reported general and oral health were both recorded and analyzed by means of an ordinal scale ranging from 0 = worse health to 100 = perfect health. Likert-type of scale questions were further used to capture self assessments of oral health. Dental Inequalities were assessed with reference to the following socio-economic variables: age, education, and income levels. Results: Statistically significant oral health inequalities were identified among the socio-economic groups in Greece. Lower levels of oral health were associated with those confronting financial difficulties, the aged and the less educated. The Gini Coefficient for Oral Health Goral = 0.344 (s.d. = 0.0033) was higher in comparison to general health Ggeneral = 0.289 (s.d. = 0.0016) indicating the need for public health intervention in the area of oral health. Conclusions: The paper demonstrates the significance of socioeconomic inequalities in oral health in Greece.

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Yfantopoulos, J. , Oulis, C. , Yfantopoulos, P. and Papaioannou, W. (2014) Socio-Economic Inequalities in Oral Health: The Case of Greece. Health, 6, 2227-2235. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.616258.

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