Is accessibility to dental care facilities in rural areas associated with number of teeth in elderly residents?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Given that public transportation networks are less developed in rural than in urban areas, a lack of accessibility to dental care facilities could be a barrier to routine dental checkups. Thus, we hypothesized that the distance to the dental care facilities is a risk factor for tooth loss. The aim of this study was to test whether there is an association between the distance to dental care facilities, estimated by geographic information systems, and number of teeth, assessed by an oral examination, among elderly residents of a rural area in Japan. Data were collected in 2016 from a cross-sectional study conducted in Shimane prefecture, Japan. After excluding participants with missing data (n = 21), we analyzed data from 710 participants. Of them, 40.6% were male and the mean (standard deviation) age was 67.4 (7.4) years. Further, 68.0% (n = 483) had at least 20 teeth. We found that the distance to dental care facilities was significantly associated with the number of teeth (less than 20) (odds ratio = 1.07, 95% confidence interval = 1.01–1.12) after adjustment for potential confounders. This result suggested that individuals without easy access to dental care facilities may be important targets for dental care.


External organisations
  • Kyoto Sangyo University
  • Shimane University
  • Tominaga Dental Office
  • Stanford University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Family Medicine


  • Cross-sectional study, Dental care accessibility, Number of teeth, Rural area
Original languageEnglish
Article number327
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 21
Publication categoryResearch