Social gradients in oral and general health

J Dent Res. 2007 Oct;86(10):992-6. doi: 10.1177/154405910708601014.


There are social gradients in general health and oral health. However, there have been few studies addressing whether similarities exist in the gradients in oral and general health in the same individuals. We set out to test, using data from NHANES III, whether there are social gradients in oral health, and whether they resemble the gradients in general health. Income, indicated by poverty-income ratio, and education gradients were examined in periodontal diseases, ischemic heart disease, and perceived oral/general health. Our analysis demonstrated consistent income and education gradients in all outcomes assessed. In the adjusted regression models, the probabilities of having poorer clinical and perceived health were attenuated, but remained significantly higher at each lower level of income and education for most outcomes. The results showed similar income and education gradients in oral and general health, implying commonalities of the social determinants of both oral and general health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dental Health Surveys
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Myocardial Ischemia* / epidemiology
  • Oral Health*
  • Periodontal Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Poverty
  • Prevalence
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Class*
  • United States / epidemiology