CURRENT ORAL HEALTH STATUS AND PRACTICE IN TAIWAN AND THEIR ASSOCIATIONS WITH QUALITY OF LIFE AND TOOTH LOSS
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This thesis has three aims 1) to identify current dental hygiene practice and dental health status among Taiwanese population; 2) to study the association between dental hygiene practice, dental health status, and quality of life indicators; and 3) to assess factors associated with tooth loss among Taiwanese population. This study uses a cross-sectional, secondary database from the National Health Interview Survey. The dependent variables are quality of life-indicators and loss of teeth. Independent variables include both personal characteristics and dental related measures. Results of the study indicate most of the participants reported regular teeth brushing at least twice a day, but about 40% of the participants did not visit any dentist in the past year (Study Aim 1). After controlling for known determinants of quality of life including personal factors, oral hygiene behavior, dental service utilization, and self-reported oral health, a significant and positive association was identified between the behavior of daily brushing teeth and all sub-domains of physical and mental health. Good or better dental function was positively associated with better physical and mental health than poor dental function (Study Aim 2). Significant and positive associations were also identified between tooth loss and dental hygiene practice (Study Aim 3). The implications of these findings are that policy makers and health providers should advocate for good oral health practice and ensure adequate access to oral health services for the population. In addition, policy-making regarding oral health should take full consideration of the socioeconomic determinants of health.