Lifestyle and oral health of 55-year-olds
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Dentistry, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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Oulu : University of Oulu,
|Academic Dissertation to be presented with the asssent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Auditorium I of the Institute of Dentistry (Aapistie 3), On June 11th, 1999, at 12 noon.
Professor Pentti Alanen
Professor Marjo-Riitta Järvelin
Oral diseases are, to a notable extent, behavioral diseases. The concept of lifestyle makes it possible to study behavior in a broad sense. The aim was to study the association of lifestyle with oral health and dental health behavior. All of the 1,012 55-year-old citizens of Oulu were invited to a clinical examination, and 780 of them participated. A lifestyle variable to measure health orientation was constructed. Smoking, alcohol consumption, dietary habits and physical activity were used as indicators of lifestyle. The association of lifestyle with dental caries, periodontal health, denture stomatitis and dental health behavior was studied with a cross-sectional design.
An unhealthy lifestyle was associated with a higher number of dental decay, periodontal pockets and a higher prevalence of denture stomatitis. Lifestyle accounted for a large part of the differences between socioeconomic groups and between men and women in number of dental decay and periodontal pockets. An unhealthy lifestyle was associated with an increased prevalence of denture stomatitis in yeast carriers. A higher toothbrushing frequency and the use of extra cleaning methods were related to healthier lifestyle. Socioeconomic status was more important than lifestyle as a determinant of dental visits. Smoking was associated with higher lactobacillus counts and the presence of yeasts in saliva.
Lifestyle explained a great part of the differences between the socioeconomic groups and between men and women in oral health. It seems that part of the association between oral and general health can be explained by lifestyle. It is important to control for general lifestyle when the biological connections between oral and general health are studied.
Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
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