CitationTesta, Alexander & Fahmy, Chantal (2020). Oral health status and oral health care use among formerly incarcerated people. The Journal of the American Dental Association.
AbstractBackground: Incarceration carries adverse consequences for health, yet there is limited research on the association between incarceration and oral health outcomes. The authors examined the relationship between former incarceration and 2 self-reported oral health outcomes—periodontal disease and oral health care use—and assessed the degree to which postrelease factors mediate the relationship between former incarceration and oral health outcomes. Methods: The authors analyzed nationally representative observational data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health by using multivariate logistic regression. Karlson-Holm-Breen mediation analysis was used to assess how much former incarceration and oral health outcomes are confounded by material hardship, health insurance coverage, and poor health behaviors. Results: Incarceration history is associated with periodontal disease (odds ratio [OR], 1.454; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.042 to 2.029) and oral health care use (OR, 1.433; 95% CI, 1.248 to 1.646) after control variables are taken into account. However, the confounding variables fully mediate the association between incarceration and periodontal disease (OR, 1.143; 95% CI, 0.815 to 1.605) and oral health care use (OR, 1.133; 95% CI, 0.980 to 1.309). Conclusions: Formerly incarcerated people in the United States have worse oral health outcomes than their never-incarcerated counterparts, and much of this relationship can be explained by socioeconomic status and health behaviors. Practical Implications Formerly incarcerated people have scarce resources and lack knowledge about oral health care. Health care professionals should encourage formerly incarcerated people to focus on oral health care. Because modifiable risk behaviors confound much of this relationship, targeted interventions may provide benefits for improving oral health care among this vulnerable population.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleThe Journal of the American Dental Association