Evidence of the effect of rural background on rural practise in Australian dental practitioners: Does gender play a role? Academic Article uri icon


  • People residing outside the capital cities have poorer oral health than their city counterparts. Health workforce shortages and stability issues can have negative health effects on rural populations. There has been an increasing proportion of women entering the dental practitioner workforce in Australia. This study investigated whether dental practitioners who have a rural background are more likely to work in a rural area than those who do not have a rural background; and whether the gender of dental practitioners plays a role.A self-administered questionnaire was sent to a sample of dental practitioners via their professional dental associations. Practice location was assigned as either 'urban' or 'rural' using the Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area categories and measured with demographic characteristics of the respondents. Prevalence ratios (PR) were estimated using Poisson regression with robust standard errors.Participants with a rural background were more than twice as likely (male PR = 2.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.79-6.26; female PR = 2.82, 95% CI = 1.35-5.87) to practise in a rural area than those with an urban background.Dental practitioners with rural backgrounds were more than twice as likely to work in a rural practice as their urban counterparts.

publication date

  • March 2017