Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease, Obesity
To examine the relationships between food security and prevalence and severity of periodontal disease in low-income women.
This cross-sectional study involved 220 women, 18-50 years of age, who were recruited from dental clinics and low-income households in Central Texas. On one visit, women completed a Demographic Survey and the United States Household Food Security Survey Module. Two trained dentists conducted dental screenings for evaluation of periodontal status, using two indices: Clinical Attachment Loss (CAL) and Bleeding on Probing (BOP) to discern severity of periodontitis. Multiple regression analysis was used to assess the effect of food insecurity on the status of periodontal disease, after adjustment for socioeconomic status.
The mean age of participants was 38.13 ± 9.43 years. The majority were Hispanic, had completed a high school education, and had a mean income of < $25,000/year. Over half of the sample (54.55%) was food insecure, followed by marginally food secure (24.09%) and highly food secure (21.36%), based on cut off values of the Household Food Security Survey Module. Mean values for Clinical Attachment Loss and Bleeding on Probing were 1.742±0.75 and 1.632±2.23 respectively. These results indicated that the women exhibited periodontal disease, with stages of mild (56.83%), moderate (26.36%) and severe periodontitis (16.81%). Food insecurity was directly related to the severity of periodontal disease, as illustrated by the Clinical Attachment Loss (β-coefficient=0.170, p value=0.01) and Bleeding on Probing (β coefficient =0.380, p value=0.00), after adjustment for socioeconomic status.
Food insecure individuals appear to be at a great risk for periodontal disease. Whether this relationship is due to lack of food resources, improper dental equipment or hygiene, or nutrition knowledge will be explored as the study progresses. This health risk for periodontal disease should be incorporated into public health policies concerning food insecurity.
Funding Sources :
Bess Heflin Centennial Professorship