Exploring potential pathways between parity and tooth loss among American women

Am J Public Health. 2008 Jul;98(7):1263-70. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.124735. Epub 2008 May 29.


Objectives: We assessed the impact of parity on tooth loss among American women and examined mediators of this relationship.

Methods: The study sample comprised 2635 White and Black non-Hispanic women who had taken part in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We examined the relationship between parity and tooth loss, by age and by socioeconomic position, and tested a theoretical model focusing on direct and indirect influences of parity on dental disease. Robust regression techniques were used to generate path coefficients.

Results: Although parity was associated with tooth loss, the relationship was not moderated through dental care, psychosocial factors, or dental health-damaging behaviors.

Conclusions: Parity is related to tooth loss among American women, but the mechanisms of the association remain undefined. Further investigation is warranted to determine whether disparities in dental health among women who have been pregnant are caused by differences in parity or to physiological and societal changes (e.g., factors related to pregnant women's access to care) paralleling reproductive choices.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Oral Health*
  • Parity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Tooth Loss / ethnology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Women's Health / ethnology*