JKAOH Journal of Korean Academy of Oral Health

ISSN(Print) 1225-388X ISSN(Online) 2093-7784


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Original Article

Journal of Korean Academy of Oral Health 2020; 44(1): 26-33

Published online March 30, 2020 https://doi.org/10.11149/jkaoh.2020.44.1.26

Copyright © Journal of Korean Academy of Oral Health.

An exploratory study on development policy and the status of oral health care in the North Korea during the Kim Jong-Un era

Sae-Rom Lee1, Se-Hwan Jung2

1Department of Preventive and Social Dentistry, College of Dentistry, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, 2Department of Preventive and Public Health Dentistry, College of Dentistry, Gangneung-Wonju National University, Gangneung, Korea

Received: February 11, 2020; Revised: March 3, 2020; Accepted: March 7, 2020


Objectives: Studies on oral health care in North Korea are being pursued in South Korea. However, the covertness of North Korea offers substantial resistance to the access of information from the country, including in the field of oral health care. In this study, we explored North Korea’s oral health care policy and its status in the Kim Jong-Un Era.
Methods: We used existing information from Internet searches and also interviewed three health care professionals who had recently contact with North Korea.
Results: At present, there are four development policies of oral health care in North Korea: expansion of dental institutions and resource support, strengthening the prevention and treatment of dental diseases, improvement of dental prosthetics, and increasing the responsibility and role of the dental workforce. In addition, there has been an increasing interest in children’s oral health with the development of a few programs.
Conclusions: In order to improve overall oral health care, cooperation is required from North Korea in accessing relevant information in the field of children’s oral health, dental prosthetics, and dental materials. For this to occur, there should be a preliminary trust building process between North Korea and South Korea as well as access to information from reliable sources.

Keywords: Exploratory study, North Korea, Oral health care