Aim: The aims of this study were to examine inequalities in periodontitis and tooth loss among South Korean adults using the Wright's Neo-Marxian social class (NMSC) indicator and to assess the impact of material, psychosocial, health behavioural and workplace environmental factors in the association of social class with oral health. Methods: This study used the data from the 4th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey with 6710 participants aged 19-54 years old. Participants were classified into 12 social class positions based on the Wright's social class map. Healthy gum and absence of tooth loss were the health outcomes. Mediating factors were material (M), psychosocial (PS), health behavioural (HB) and workplace environmental (WPE) factors. A series of logistic regressions were performed to analyse the data. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used to report the results. Results: For the absence of periodontal pockets status, expert supervisors were the healthiest periodontal group among the social classes (OR = 2.15 95% CI 1.59-2.90) in the age and gender adjusted model. For the absence of tooth loss, skilled workers had the highest OR for absence of tooth loss (OR = 1.64 95% CI 1.31-2.05) in the age- and gender-adjusted model. For absence of periodontal pockets, the explanatory power of the M factor was the highest in all social class positions except for nonskilled supervisors followed by the HB factor. Additionally, the absence of tooth loss had a fairly similar pattern. The explanatory power of the M factor was the highest in all social class positions except for the petty bourgeoisie (highest: HB) and nonskilled supervisors (highest: WPE) followed by the HB and WPE factors. Conclusion: There were nongradient oral health inequalities among the South Korean population according to the NMSC. Oral health promotion programmes that focus on changing the socioeconomic environment and health behaviours should be implemented.
- tooth loss