Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the value and utility of certain oral health indicators in adults.
Methods: The data used for analysis was obtained from the 6th Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013-2014). The study subjects were 7,729 adults aged between 20 and 64 years. The oral health indicators used for the analysis were T-Health (tissue health index), FS-T (functioning teeth index), and DHC of 1st molar (dental health capacity of the first molars). Descriptive statistical indices for oral health indicators were obtained (mean, skewness and kurtosis, and coefficient of variation). The correlation among oral health indicators, DMF, and sound tooth structure was analyzed.
Results: The oral health indicator scores had an abnormal distribution. DHC of 1st molar is found to be the most reliable indicator because it most accurately reflects the oral health decline that occurs as a result of aging. In all ages, DHC of 1st molar marked the lowest value in skewness and kurtosis. However, the skewness and kurtosis values of T-Health in adults younger than 44 years old were found to be the lowest among all age groups. FS-T is believed to most accurately reflect oral health status as it has a high correlation with sound tooth structure and sound tooth surfaces. T-Health is evaluated to most accurately reflect oral disease indicators as it appears to have a high correlation with DMF and high caries risk.
Conclusions: The oral health indicators T-Health, DHC of 1st molar, and FS-T have distinct characteristics that can serve as different health indices. Therefore, they can each be utilized in various fields of oral epidemiology.