Correlation between Dental Visits and Obesity in US Adults
Methods: Using data from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (2005-2012), we conducted a multinomial logistic regression of dental visits and weight status (healthy weight (18.5 ≤ BMI < 25); overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30); obese (30 ≤ BMI < 40); morbidly obese (40 ≤ BMI). We controlled for a number of critical covariates including age, sex, race/ethnicity, Metropolitan Statistical Area, education, family income, health insurance, and dental insurance.
Results: The nationally representative sample consisted of 97,405 observations (ages 18-64). We found that each additional dental visit was associated with decreased odds of being overweight relative to healthy weight (OR 0.979; p=0.023); obese relative to healthy weight (OR 0.945; p<0.001); and morbidly obese relative to healthy weight (OR 0.936; p<0.001).
Conclusions: There is a strong, persistent inverse association between seeing a dental professional and obesity. Further research is needed to determine whether healthy behaviors or dental counselling, among other potential causes, explain our findings. However, this association suggests that dental professionals may play an important role in preventing obesity by counseling individuals about nutrition and food intake.
Learning Areas:Biostatistics, economics
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Evaluate the relationship between dental visits and weight status among US adults. Describe possible mechanisms to explain the relationship between dental visits and weight status. Analyze the role dentists may play in obesity prevention and mitigation.
Keyword(s): Obesity, Oral Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am responsible for the initiation of the project, I have conducted the analysis with the help of my colleague, and I am the author of the paper that will result from the project. I have conducted the project independent of special interests or related funding.
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.