A community-based oral public health approach to promote health equity

Am J Public Health. 2015 Jul;105 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):S459-65. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302562. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


Objectives: We explored the interrelationships among diabetes, hypertension, and missing teeth among underserved racial/ethnic minority elders.

Methods: Self-reported sociodemographic characteristics and information about health and health care were provided by community-dwelling ElderSmile participants, aged 50 years and older, who took part in community-based oral health education and completed a screening questionnaire at senior centers in Manhattan, New York, from 2010 to 2012.

Results: Multivariable models (both binary and ordinal logistic regression) were consistent, in that both older age and Medicaid coverage were important covariates when self-reported diabetes and self-reported hypertension were included, along with an interaction term between self-reported diabetes and self-reported hypertension.

Conclusions: An oral public health approach conceptualized as the intersection of 3 domains-dentistry, medicine, and public health-might prove useful in place-based assessment and delivery of services to underserved older adults. Further, an ordinal logit model that considers levels of missing teeth might allow for more informative and interpretable results than a binary logit model.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tooth Loss / epidemiology*