To examine the association between oral health and general well-being, we are currently conducting a nationwide cohort study comprising members of the Japan Dental Association (JDA). Herein, we describe the study design and the profile of the participants at baseline.
From 2001 through 2006, the participants completed a baseline questionnaire that surveyed factors related to lifestyle, general health, and oral health. Morbidity and mortality have been monitored by using information from fraternal insurance programs operated by prefectural dental associations. All respondents provided written, informed consent for participation and the use of their insurance data.
A total of 21,272 JDA members participated in the baseline survey (response rate, 36.2%). Their mean age +/- SD was 52.3 +/- 12.3 years; 8.0% were women. Among the respondents, 30.2% of men and 10.7% of women were current smokers; 73.5% of men and 44.8% of women were current drinkers. The cohort scored higher on oral health indices than did the general Japanese population: dentists were more likely to brush their teeth > or =3 times/day, to have > or =20 teeth, to have fewer lost teeth, to be free from periodontal diseases, and to have higher General Oral Health Assessment Index scores. There was, however, considerable inter-individual variation in scores on the indices.
More than one-third of JDA members participated in the study. Their oral average health status was better than that of the general population. Nevertheless, it will be possible to compare morbidity and mortality between those with better and worse scores on oral health indices.
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