An examination of adolescent dental health by urban and Appalachian status

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The Ohio State University

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The objectives of this study were to examine the association between parent-rated dental health and urban vs. Appalachian residence among adolescent males, and to explore factors that may contribute to differences in dental health by region. Adolescent males from urban and Appalachian Ohio (n = 1220, age 11-16 years) completed a food frequency questionnaire to quantify fruit, vegetable, and sugar intake, and a self-administered survey to measure past 30-day tobacco use. Parents or guardians reported when the participants had last visited the dentist and rated their dental health. Analyses were conducted to determine the associations between fair/poor dental health and Appalachian residence, differences in poor dental health risk factors by Appalachia residence, and whether the effect of Appalachia residence on dental health was attenuated after controlling for risk factors. Boys in Appalachia had a marginally higher prevalence of fair/poor dental health compared to urban boys. Boys from Appalachia were more likely to have used tobacco in the past and consumed fewer fruit and vegetables, more added sugar and more sugary beverages than urban boys. The association between fair/poor dental health and residence was attenuated in the adjusted model. Our findings suggest that some of the disparities in dental health observed between people living in Appalachian and urban areas may be related to behavioral factors like tobacco use and diet. We provide support for behavioral interventions to these issues in the Appalachian community.



dental health, adolescent, Appalachia, tobacco, diet