Low Income as a Multiplicative Risk Factor for Oral Pain and Dental Problems Among U.S. Veteran Smokers.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Compared to the United States (U.S.) general population, military veterans are at an increased risk of experiencing dental problems. This study documented associations between cigarette use and measures of dental/oral concern in a population of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. METHOD: A cross-sectional analysis of survey data from the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans Health and Needs Study, a study of U.S. military veterans. Out of 5000 surveys mailed to a random sample of OEF/OIF veterans, 1161 surveys were completed and returned. Among study respondents, N = 1114 had non-missing dental/oral pain data and were included for analysis. The survey also included smoking history and demographic information. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to cross-sectionally model the odds of experiencing dental/oral concerns as a function of smoking status. We also examined moderating effects of income and gender on the association between smoking and dental/oral concerns. RESULTS: In univariate and multivariate models, current smoking was associated with risk for dental/oral concerns. However, this association was qualified by a Smoking × Income interaction. For those earning above US$20,000, smoking was not associated with dental/oral concerns. Among veterans with low income, smoking was associated with three times higher odds of increased dental/oral concerns. There was no significant Gender × Smoking interaction. CONCLUSION: These findings underscore the relevance of factors that moderate the association between smoking and dental/oral concern, namely income. Findings also underscore the importance of interventions to mitigate income disparities in oral healthcare.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hicks, TA; Wilson, SM; Thomas, SP; Dennis, PA; Neal, JM; Calhoun, PS

Published Date

  • February 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 67 - 73

PubMed ID

  • 28527104

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5694710

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-7558

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s12529-017-9660-5


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England