MLHU - Health Status Resource

Self-Rated Oral Health

Self-Rated Oral Health
Key Findings: 

Since oral health has an impact on overall health, self-perceived oral health is a good indicator of the oral and overall health of an individual.1 Although self-rated oral health in Middlesex-London and Ontario is generally good, there are still groups who rate their oral health as fair or poor due to limited access to dental health services.
In 2013/14, most of the Middlesex-London population reported that the health of their teeth and mouth was either good or excellent. This was similar to populations in both Ontario and the Peer Group. There was a larger difference between residents living in urban versus rural locations in Middlesex-London. Residents between the ages of 18 and 24 years reported the highest percentage of good or excellent oral health. Those aged 45−64 and 65+ reported much lower percentages of good or excellent oral health.

In general, the higher the household income, the higher the percentage of residents who self-perceived their oral health as either good or excellent. This was the case across all populations in Middlesex-London, Ontario, and the Peer Group. Overall, Middlesex-London residents reported a lower percentage of self-perceived health as either fair or poor compared to Ontario and the Peer Group.

Self-perceived oral health as good or excellent Self-perceived oral health as fair or poor

Self-perceived oral health as good or excellent

In 2013/14, well over three-quarters (86.4%) of the Middlesex-London population over the age of 12 self-reported their oral health as either good or excellent. This percentage was not significantly different from what was seen across Ontario and the Peer Group (Figure 8.1.1).

The percentage of good or excellent oral health was lower among Middlesex-London residents who lived in rural locations (80.6%) compared to those living in urban areas (87.1%) (Figure 8.1.2). This is significantly different from what was seen in Ontario and among the Peer Group, both of which have approximately equal percentages of residents reporting good or excellent oral health, regardless of location of residence.

Further, residents in Middlesex-London between ages 18 and 24 had the highest percentages of good or excellent oral health, while those between the ages of 45 and 64 reported the lowest (Figure 8.1.3).

The highest percentage (92.4%) of good or excellent oral health was reported in the highest income quintile in Middlesex-London (Figure 8.1.4). This was also the case in Ontario (91.8%) and the Peer Group (92.2%).

No significant differences were seen by sex, employment, or education level (not shown).

Interpretation

The self-perception of high quality of oral health goes hand-in-hand with regular brushing and dental visits.1,2 This encourages positive attitudes and behaviours to improve oral health, decreasing the amount of caries and extracted teeth over time. This is evident in Middlesex-London, as the high percentages of self-perceived good oral health are accompanied by high percentages of those who visited the dentist in the past year and brushing twice daily.

Self-perceived oral health as fair or poor

There were less people in Middlesex-London who reported their oral health as fair or poor in comparison to Ontario and the Peer Group, but not by a significant amount (Figure 8.1.5).

There was a higher percentage of rural residents compared to urban population who reported their oral health as fair or poor in 2013/14. Again, this was different from what is seen in Ontario and among the Peer Group, both of whom had approximately equal percentages of self-perceived oral health as fair or poor between urban and rural locations. However, these differences were not statistically significant.

Those in the highest quintile of household income reported the lowest percentage of perceiving their oral health to be either fair or poor (7.6%). However, there is a great deal of variability in the results so this should be interpreted with caution (not shown).

The percentage of those reporting their oral health as either fair or poor also decreased as level of education increased (Figure 8.1.6). Having less than a secondary school education was associated with the highest percentage of fair or poor oral health; 19.4% versus 12.1% among those with a post-secondary education.

Interpretation

As with good or excellent oral health, self-perceived oral health as fair or poor also has an impact on the overall quality of oral health and visiting the dentist and brushing regularly.1,2 Middlesex-London also reported the lowest percentage of frequently visiting the dentist compared to Ontario and the Peer Group. This begins to highlight the close relationship between self-perceived poor oral health and behaviours.

In addition, the higher percentages of self-perceived poor oral health among those with lower education highlights the role healthy equity plays in self-perceived health and oral health.2,3

Ontario Public Health Standard: 

Ontario Public Health Standards: Requirements for Programs, Services, and Accountability−Chronic Disease Prevention and Well-Being (page 28)

Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2018

References:

1. Kotha,S.B., Chaudhary, M., Terkawi,S., Ahmed,M., Shroog Naji Ghabban,S.N., & Fernandez, R.A.A. Correlation of perceived self-rated oral health status with various dental health and awareness factors. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent 2017 7(suppl 2): S119-24.

2. Mejia, G.C., Elani, H.W., Harper, S., Thomson, W.M., Ju, X., Kawachi, I., Kaufman, J.S., & Jamieson, L.M. Socioeconomic status, oral health and dental disease in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. BMC Oral Health 2018 18(176): 1-9.

3. Mejia, G.C., Armfield, J.M., & Jamieson LM. Self-rated oral health and oral health-related factors: The role of social inequality. Aust Dent J 2014 59(2): 226-33.
4. Barbosa do Vale, E., da Cruz Gouveia Mendes, A., & da Silveira Moreira, R. Self-perceived oral health among adults in Northeastern Brazil. Rev. Saude Publica 2013 47(suppl 3): 1-11.

Last modified on: November 19, 2019

Jargon Explained: 

Self-perceived Oral Health
The concept of quality of life is closely related to self-perception. Self-perception of health is useful because it allows for the interpretation of the impact of everyday experiences and day-to-day life.4