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The differences in healthcare utilization for dental caries based on the implementation of water fluoridation in South Korea

 Myung-Soo Cho  ;  Kyu-Tae Han  ;  Sohee Park  ;  Ki Tae Moon  ;  Eun-Cheol Park 
 BMC ORAL HEALTH, Vol.16(1) : 119, 2016 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Dental Care* ; Dental Caries/epidemiology* ; Fluoridation* ; Humans ; Oral Health ; Republic of Korea ; Water Supply
Dental caries ; Healthcare expenditures ; Public program ; Water fluoridation
BACKGROUND: There were some debates about the water fluoridation program in South Korea, even if the program had generally substantial effectiveness. Because the out-of-pocket expenditures for dental care were higher in South Korea than in other countries, an efficient solution was needed. Therefore, we examined the relationship between the implementation of water fluoridation and the utilization of dental care.

METHODS: We used the National Health Insurance Service National Sample Cohort. In this study, data finally included 472,250 patients who were newly diagnosed with dental caries during 2003-2013. We performed survival analysis using cox proportional hazard model, negative binomial-regression, and regression analyses using generalized estimating equation models.

RESULTS: There were 48.49 % outpatient dental care visit during study period. Individuals with water fluoridation had a lower risk of dental care visits (HR?=?0.949, 95 % CI?=?0.928-0.971). Among the individuals who experienced a dental care visit, those with water fluoridation program had a lower number of dental care visits (β?=?-0.029), and the period of water fluoridation had an inverse association with the dental care expenditures.

CONCLUSION: The implementation of water fluoridation programs and these periods are associated with reducing the utilization of dental health care. Considering these positive impacts, healthcare professionals must consider preventive strategies for activating water fluoridation programs, such as changes in public perception and relations, for the effective management of dental care in South Korea.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Preventive Medicine (예방의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
4. Graduate School of Public Health (보건대학원) > Graduate School of Public Health (보건대학원) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Park, So Hee(박소희) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8513-5163
Park, Eun-Cheol(박은철) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2306-5398
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