Correlation between dental care utilization and oral cavity cancer in a large sample of community-based United States residents
Cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx remains one of the ten leading causes of cancer death in the United States (US). Besides smoking and alcohol consumption, there are no well established risk factors. While poor dental care had been implicated, it is unknown if the lack of dental care, implying poor dental hygiene predisposes to oral cavity cancer. This study aimed to assess the relationship between dental care utilization during the past twelve months and the prevalence of oral cavity cancer. A cross-sectional design of the National Health Interview Survey of adult, non-institutionalized US residents (n=30,475) was used to assess the association between dental care utilization and self reported diagnosis of oral cavity cancer. Chi square statistic was used to examine the crude association between the predictor variable, dental care utilization and other covariates, while unconditional logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between oral cavity cancer and dental care utilization. There were statistically significant differences between those who utilized dental care during the past twelve months and those who did not with respect to education, income, age, marital status, and gender (p < 0.05), but not health insurance coverage (p = 0.53). Also, those who utilized dental care relative to those who did not were 65% less likely to present with oral cavity cancer, prevalence odds ratio (POR), 0.35, 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 0.12–0.98. Further, higher income advanced age, people of African heritage, and unmarried status were statistically significantly associated with oral cavity cancer, (p < 0.05), but health insurance coverage, alcohol use and smoking were not, p > 0.05. However, after simultaneously controlling for the relevant covariates, the association between dental care and oral cavity cancer did not attenuate nor persist. Thus, compared with those who did not use dental care, those who did wee 62% less likely to present with oral cavity cancer adjusted POR, 0.38, 95% CI, 0.13-1.10. Among US adults residing in community settings, use of dental care during the past twelve months did not significantly reduce the predisposition to oral cavity cancer. However, due to the nature of the data used in this study, which restricts temporal sequence, a large sample prospective study that may identify modifiable factors associated with oral cancer development namely poor dental care, is needed.
Emani, Sreekanth R, "Correlation between dental care utilization and oral cavity cancer in a large sample of community-based United States residents" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1447092.