55% of respondents believe that high social status means fewer missing teeth
Tooth loss seems to affect people with a low socioeconomic status more severely. This unfortunate result is shown by a recent DentaVox survey, conducted among 2582 respondents globally, primarily in the age group 20-45. Compared to low-status survey participants, a larger percentage of those with a (very) high social status have kept all of their natural teeth.
Find the key findings from the “Tooth Loss & Social Status” survey:
- Income level is the defining factor for tooth loss
- Company owners are believed to have the fewest missing teeth
- High social status is related to fewer missing teeth
Income level is the defining factor for tooth loss
The popular injustice that the richer you are, the better is your health is confirmed by the respondents’ opinions. When asked about the social factors with the most significant impact on tooth loss, the largest share of them (21%) pointed out income level. Further thereafter come the education level (8%) and the area of living (6%). Disability status and generation also made it to the top 5.
This topic has been thoroughly explored in the 2010 National Oral Health Survey among adults from 157 Brazilian municipalities. Interestingly, a relation was found between the top three factors – income, education, and area of living. The research showed significant cross-level interaction indicating that high-education adults reported fewer missing teeth when they lived in municipalities with high Human Development Index (HD) compared to adults with the same education level living in low HDI municipalities.
Company owners are believed to have the fewest missing teeth
Although job position was not mentioned among the top 5 social factors affecting tooth loss, when asked a separate question about it, 53% of DentaVox respondents considered it relevant. Taking into account the above-mentioned results, it is not surprising that being a company owner was related to enjoying the fewest missing teeth in old age, according to 16% of survey participants, closely followed by CEO (15%), and Manager (7%). All three positions are high-paid which directly corresponds with the perception that income is the leading factor for tooth loss.
Looking at the results from a previous DentaVox study, 62% of respondents back then believed that business owners and top managers are the ones who actually need better teeth compared to employees.
The possible relation between people’s own position, oral health status, and perception of those factors could be subject to further analysis.
High social status is related to fewer missing teeth
55% of DentaVox respondents believe that a high social status means fewer missing teeth. Results show that this is true not only by their opinions but also practically. 40% of survey participants with a (very) high social status have kept all their natural teeth*. This share among low-status respondents is smaller (35%).
* Excluding wisdom teeth.
Whether or not this reality is fair is not a subject to field research but we at Dentacoin Foundation feel the need to express our trouble accepting that in the 21st century oral health is still being traded as a luxury service. This injustice is at the core of our organization’s existence. We strive to change it by helping improve the oral health of all people, regardless of social status, with better awareness, proper at-home hygiene, regular dental visits, and wider access to affordable care. Read more about our mission here.
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Survey: “Tooth Loss & Social Status”