Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Prevalence of and factors associated with fewer than 20 remaining teeth in Taiwanese adults with disabilities: a community-based cross-sectional study
  1. Mei-Yu Pan1,2,
  2. Tsung-Cheng Hsieh2,
  3. Hung-Cheng Tai3,
  4. Ming-Shyan Lin4,
  5. Yu-Chen Lin5,
  6. Mei-Yen Chen1,4,6
  1. 1Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Chiayi, Taiwan
  2. 2Institute of Medical Sciences, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
  3. 3Department of General Education, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Chiayi, Taiwan
  4. 4Department of Cardiology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
  5. 5Department of Health Promotion, Chiayi Bureau of Health, Taiwan
  6. 6Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Mei-Yen Chen; meiyen{at}


Objectives To examine the prevalence of and the factors associated with a number of remaining teeth (NRT) <20 among adults with disabilities.

Design A community-based, cross-sectional descriptive study.

Setting This study was part of a health promotion programme designed for community-dwelling adults with disabilities.

Participants A total of 549 adults with disabilities, aged 20–80 years, living in the community in Chiayi County in Taiwan.

Outcome measures Various parameters, including NRT, oral health behaviours (ie, oral hygiene, dietary habits and substance use), comorbidities, disability classification and capability for performing activities of daily living, were measured. Data were statistically analysed using descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results The mean NRT was 18.1 (SD=10.9); 44.8% of participants had NRT <20 (including 13.7% edentulous participants). Most participants had poor oral hygiene: 83.4% reported seldom using dental floss, 78% did not undergo regular 6-monthly dental check-ups and 77.4% seldom brushed their teeth after meal. After adjusting for potentially confounding variables, the intellectual disability group had a significantly higher risk of an NRT <20 than the physical disability group (OR 2.30, 95% CI 1.30 to 4.08). Additionally, the rare use of dental floss and hypertension significantly increased the possibility of an NRT <20 (OR 1.73–2.12, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.71).

Conclusions An NRT <20 and edentulism were highly prevalent among adults with disabilities, who displayed poor oral hygiene behaviours. Adults with intellectual disabilities had a greater likelihood of having an NRT <20 than did those with physical disability. In addition to unmodifiable factors, the poor use of dental floss was significantly associated with an NRT <20.

  • disabilities
  • number of remaining teeth
  • edentulous
  • health promotion
  • oral hygiene

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from


  • M-YP and T-CH contributed equally.

  • Contributors M-YP and T-CH: designing the study, collecting and analysing data and drafting the paper. H-CT, M-SL and Y-CL: proof-reading and revising the manuscripts. M-YC: initialising, conceptualising and supervising the research process.

  • Funding The study was supported by a grant from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (BMRP 148).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the institutional review board of the ethical committee of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (IRB 102-3331B).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.