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Area deprivation and oral health in Scottish adults: A multilevel study

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele CBE


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Objectives: To explore the association between area deprivation and adult oral health. Methods: Multilevel regression analysis of data taken from the 1998 Adult Dental Health Survey in the UK comprising 632 participants living in 346 households located in 31 postcode sectors in Scotland. Three oral health outcomes were investigated: number of sound (including restored) teeth; has one or more unsound teeth; has periodontal pocketing 4 mm or more in one or more teeth. Results: In the most deprived areas, individuals had a mean of 4.6 fewer sound teeth than those in the least deprived areas. The difference in normalised number of sound teeth between least and most deprived areas was -0.707 (95% CI -1.164, -0.250), P = 0.024. After adjusting for age, sex, qualification status, head of household social class and household income, the estimated difference was -0.238 (-0.591 to 0.115) (P = 0.164). Area deprivation was not associated with having one or more unsound teeth or periodontal pocketing 4 mm or more in one or more teeth. Conclusions: There is a univariate association of area deprivation with the number of sound teeth. This association is largely explained by household and individual level socioeconomic variables. A small area deprivation effect cannot be excluded in these data. The findings challenge current understanding of the relationship between area deprivation and oral health. Further multilevel research exploring the relationship between area deprivation and oral health is required using a larger sample and a prospective longitudinal design. © 2007 Blackwell Munksgaard.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bower E, Gulliford M, Steele J, Newton T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology

Year: 2007

Volume: 35

Issue: 2

Pages: 118-129

ISSN (print): 0301-5661

ISSN (electronic): 1600-0528

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2007.00308.x

PubMed id: 17331153


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