Influences of behaviour and attitude on education related inequality in tooth loss: findings from Norway and Sweden over 5 years of follow-up
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionActa Odontologica Scandinavica. 2021, 79(2), 81-88 10.1080/00016357.1785002
Objectives Following community dwelling cohorts in Norway and Sweden from 65 to 70 years, this study aimed to answer the following questions; Is there cross country variation in educational inequality in tooth loss between the Norwegian and Swedish cohorts? Does oral health behaviours and attitudinal beliefs play a role in explaining educational inequality in tooth loss across time and cohorts? Material and Methods In 2007 and 2012 Statistics Norway administered mailed questionnaires to all individuals born in 1942 in three counties. The response rate was 58% (n = 4211) in 2007 and 54.5% (n = 3733) in 2012. In Sweden the same questionnaires were sent to the 1942 cohort in two counties. The final response rate in 2007 and 2012 were respectively, 73.1% (n = 6078) and 72.2% (n = 5697). Results In Norway, tooth loss prevalence was 21.8% in 2007 and 23.2% in 2012. Corresponding figures in Sweden were 25.9% and 27.3%. The prevalence of tooth loss was higher among lower than higher educated participants and the gradient was significantly weaker in Sweden than in Norway. Multiple variable analyses adjusting for oral behavioural and attitudinal variables attenuated education related gradients in both cohorts. Conclusion Education related inequality in tooth loss was stronger in the Norwegian than in the Swedish cohort across the survey years. Oral behaviours and attitudinal beliefs played a role in explaining the gradients across time. This illustrates a necessity to promote oral health enhancing behaviours and attitudinal beliefs, particularly so in lower educational groups.