Differences in associations between socioeconomic status and oral health by marital and employment status among Japanese women



Objectives: Socioeconomic inequalities in health among women has been a challenge. To examine differences in associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and oral health by marital and employment status among Japanese women. Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted for community-dwelling adults aged 25–50 years. A total 2251 women agreed to complete the survey. Respondents’ and spouses’ educational level and household equivalent income were used to assess SES. Self-rated “fair/poor” oral health was defined as poor oral health. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine if SES was associated with poor oral health, after adjusting for age and other SES indicators. Results: The prevalence of self-reported poor oral health was 23.2% and no difference by marital and employment status was found. Among 628 unmarried women, respondents’ educational level was significantly associated with poor oral health; the odds ratio for poor oral health of high school or lower education compared with university or higher education was 2.10 (95% confidence interval 1.20–3.67). Among 692 married and unemployed women, those with lower incomes had higher probability of poor oral health, whereas neither educational level had association. Among 931 married and employed women, only spouses’ educational level was significantly associated with poor oral health; the odds ratio of high school or lower education compared with university or higher education was 1.60 (95% confidence interval 1.07–2.40). Conclusion: The results suggest that marital and employment status should be considered when examining associations between SES and oral health among Japanese women. Key words: Oral health; Social determinants of health; Women’s health Key messages: 1. Respondents’ educational level was associated with oral health among unmarried women. 2. Household income was associated with oral health among married and unemployed women. 3. Spouses’ educational level was associated with oral health among married and employed women.


Keiko Murakami