Childhood socioeconomic conditions and teeth in older adulthood: Evidence from SHARE wave 5

S. Listl, J.M. Broadbent, W.M. Thomson, C. Stock, J. Shen, J. Steele, J. Wildman, A. Heilmann, R.G. Watt, G. Tsakos, M.A. Peres, G. van der Heijden, H. Jürges

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Objectives: Dental diseases are the most common chronic diseases worldwide. Healthy teeth are vital for quality of life, particularly diet and nutrition. However, little information exists to inform health policymakers about potentially long-lasting influences of early-life conditions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relation between early-life socioeconomic conditions and number of natural teeth at age 50 and above.
Methods: Analyses were conducted on cross-sectional data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE wave 5), which includes information on 41 560 respondents aged 50 years or older from 14 European countries and Israel. Using SHARE life history information, a series of regression models (OLS, Tobit) were estimated to analyse the relationship between socioeconomic conditions in earlier life and the number of teeth at age 50+. Results: Childhood socioeconomic background was associated with the number of natural teeth at age 50 and above, even after controlling for current determinants of oral health. Respondents who had had more than 25 books in their childhood household had a mean 1.4 (95% CI: 1.2-1.5) more teeth than respondents with fewer books. Respondents who reported poor financial conditions during childhood had a mean 0.6 (95% CI: 0.3-0.9) fewer teeth than respondents who reported better financial conditions in childhood.
Conclusion: These findings substantiate the association between socioeconomic conditions in the early years of life and tooth retention to older adulthood and highlight the long-lasting relation between childhood living conditions and oral health through the lifecourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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