Professional dental care provision systems for persons with disabilities by prefecture in Japan

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  • Kousuke Oozawa
  • Yoshikazu Okawa
  • Soichiro Hirata
  • Munetsugu Tashiro
  • Kentaro Taniguchi


Objective: The number of persons with disabilities has increased and aged. Although it is important to maintain good oral health to extend
healthy life expectancy, it is difficult for such people. This study aimed to analyze regional disparities in dental care provision systems
for disabled people and to propose measures for the establishment of an appropriate system. Basic research design: To examine regional
disparities in dental care provision systems for persons with disabilities, the number of practicing dentists and dental clinics per 100,000
population, dentists certified by the Japanese Society for Disability and Oral Health, and institutions with certified dentists per 100,000
disabled persons for each prefecture were calculated. The Gini coefficient of each was also calculated to visualize and analyze regional
disparities. Result: The Gini coefficients were 0.09 and 0.07 for practicing dentists and dental clinics and 0.32 and 0.28 for the certified
dentists and institutions with the certified dentists, respectively. Dental institutions for the disabled abounded in the three metropolitan areas:
Tokyo, Aichi, and Osaka, and their density tended to be lower in northern and southern Japan. In prefectures with few such institutions,
there was no correlation between the number of institutions and prefectural residents’ income, and some prefectures had similar incomes
but had many institutions. Conclusion: The distribution of dental care to the disabled is highly uneven in Japan, therefore, a system needs
to be established to address this issue.
Keywords: Certification, distribution, dentists, population, dental care for disabled

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