J Dent Hyg Sci.  2018 Jun;18(3):172-181. 10.17135/jdhs.2018.18.3.172.

Elderly Welfare System and Role of Dental Hygienists in Korea and Japan

  • 1Department and Research Institute of Dental Biomaterials and Bioengineering, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul 03722, Korea.
  • 2Oral Cancer Research Institute and Department of Oral Pathology, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul 03722, Korea.
  • 3Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Medical Science, Konyang University, Daejeon 35365, Korea. dentsh27@konyang.ac.kr


In accordance with the aged society, oral health care for the elderly is considered important to maintain general health. Although the role of dental hygienists is essential for proper health management of the oral cavity, research on the care system for the elderly people's oral health and on the role of dental hygienists in the field of elderly welfare is still insufficient. Hence, the aim of this study is to investigate the status of Korean elderly welfare system and dental hygienists by comparing them with those in Japan, a precedent of aged society. First, we compared and investigated the Japanese long-term insurance system, which provides an institutional basis for a long-term care system for the elderly in Korea. Second, the elderly welfare law and care system, focusing on oral care, were examined. Lastly, in elderly care, we analyzed the distinctions between Korea and Japan regarding dental hygienists' role and scope of work. Taken together, as a precedent of aged society, Japan has shown well-specialized and systematic welfare for the elderly compared with Korea. With the development of the welfare system for the elderly in Japan, the role and the workscope of dental hygienists have been expanded to improve quality of life of elderly people, as a key professional for elderly oral care. Therefore, we should perceive the need for improvement of long-term care insurance and the expansion of dental hygienists' work in Korea. In conclusion, these results could be used as basic data for improving the elderly welfare system and developing dental hygienists in Korea.


Aged; Dental hygienists; Long-term care; Oral health

MeSH Terms

Asian Continental Ancestry Group
Dental Hygienists*
Insurance, Long-Term Care
Long-Term Care
Oral Health
Quality of Life
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