241495 Oral health and diabetes among Baltimore adults: Findings from the healthy aging in neighborhoods of diversity across the life span study

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Julia Hastings, MSW, PhD , School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Alan B. Zonderman, PhD , Laboratory of Personality and Cognition, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD
Michele K. Evans, MD , Biomedical Research Center, National Institute of Aging, Baltimore, MD
Objective: To better understand the disparities associated with oral health and diabetes among African American and White adults in Baltimore, MD. We also sought to examine individual-level determinants.

Methodology: Data from 2,244 Baltimore residents participating in the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) study were analyzed. Descriptive statistics characterized the sample. Multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between Type II diabetes status and number of natural teeth above and beyond individual-level demographic variables.

Results: Study findings established significant racial differences and a statistically significant inverse relationship between Type II diabetes status and the number of natural teeth. Adults with diabetes are more likely to report fewer teeth than adults without diabetes. All adults sought dental services when needed and only 10% of the adults with diabetes reported dental insurance. It appears that the variable most influencing the decrease in the number of natural teeth is age (β = -3.22; p = 0.00) followed by smoking status (β = -2.02; p = 0.00) and dental insurance (β = 1.21; p = 0.00).

Conclusion: The number of natural teeth, an indication of periodontal disease, appeared to be influenced by Type II diabetes. A clear association between diabetes and oral health status was found. To advance this area of research, health professionals might focus on the cost effectiveness of early intervention for oral health conditions, dental care use, and understanding more about policies which support funding dental programs in low income communities.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. To describe the epidemiology of oral health among African Americans. 2. To discuss oral health interventions among urban communities. 3. To identify the relationship between diabetes and oral health among low income populations.

Keywords: Diabetes, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a University of California, Berkeley Assistant Professor in health. Further, I am a health disparities visiting scholar at the Biomedical Research Center at the National Institutes on Aging.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.