Difference of income inequalities of denture use by co-payment rates: A JAGES cross-sectional study

Manami Hoshi-Harada, Jun Aida, Upul Cooray, Noriko Nakazawa, Katsunori Kondo, Ken Osaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Studies suggest that wearing dentures to restore missing teeth can have a positive impact on health status. However, income inequalities in denture wearing exist. The aim of this study was to investigate how differing co-payment rates under the current Japanese Universal Health Insurance Coverage System affect income inequalities in denture non-use among older adults with severe tooth loss. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the 2019 Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES). Self-administered questionnaires were mailed to 345 356 independent people who did not receive long-term care insurance benefits and were aged ≥65 years. The dependent variable was denture non-use, and the independent variable was the equivalent annual household income. The Slope Index of Inequality (SII) and Relative Index of Inequality (RII) were used with regression-based approaches to determine both absolute and relative inequalities in denture non-use by co-payment rates. The covariates were sex, age, years of education, number of teeth and comorbidities. Results: Of the 240 889 responses received (response rate =69.9%), we analysed 21 594 participants who fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 72.8 years (standard deviation =4.1), and 57.6% were men. For 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent co-payment rates, the percentages of people who did not use dentures and had severe tooth loss (≤9 teeth) were 18.3%, 13.3%, and 8.5%, respectively. All analyses confirmed significant inequalities in denture non-use. The lower the co-payment rate, the smaller the inequalities. SIIs for each co-payment rate were as follows: 30 per cent =13.35% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 9.61–17.09); 20 per cent =7.85% (95% CI = 4.88–10.81); and 10 per cent =4.85% (95% CI = 2.55–7.16). Inclusion of interaction term between income and co-payment rate significantly lowered the inequalities by co-payment rate in logistic regression analysis and SII. For RII, although the interaction was not statistically significant, a similar trend was observed. Conclusions: Income inequalities in denture use existed among older adults with severe tooth loss in Japan, and the inequalities appeared to be greater when the co-payment rate was higher.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages8
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun


  • Japan
  • dentures
  • health services research
  • healthcare disparities
  • universal health insurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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