Objectives: To quantify the associations between sociodemographic factors and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in dentate and edentulous community-dwelling older adults.
Design: Cross-sectional study using a 54-item OHRQoL questionnaire.
Setting: Five counties in central Alabama: Jefferson and Tuscaloosa (urban), and Hale, Bibb, and Pickens (rural).
Participants: Two hundred eighty-eight participants (Dental Study subjects) aged 65 and older were recruited from participants in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Study of Aging, a longitudinal study of mobility in older African Americans and non-Hispanic whites.
Measurements: Dental Study subjects were queried on their OHRQoL and sociodemographic status and classified into two categories: dentate and edentulous. Bivariate analyses were used to quantify associations between sociodemographic variables and OHRQoL after excluding participants with severe depression. Variables included age, sex, race, marital status, veteran status, residence, income, education, and transportation difficulties.
Results: Dentate and edentulous subjects had similar OHRQoL across age, sex, marital status, veteran status, and residence. Analyses suggested a strong association between OHRQoL and race, education, income, and transportation difficulties in dentate subjects. Sociodemographic factors were less strongly associated with OHRQoL in edentulous participants.
Conclusion: OHRQoL decrements were prevalent in dentate and edentulous subjects. Of dentate persons, African Americans and those with a 6th-grade education or less, with income less than 16,000 dollars/year, and with transportation difficulties were more likely to have decrements in OHRQoL. In edentulous persons, these associations were not statistically significant or were weaker. These findings suggest differential associations between sociodemographic factors and OHRQoL when stratified according to dentate status.