Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences and Oral Health Measures in Adulthood: Findings from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

A. A. Akinkugbe, K. B. Hood, T. H. Brickhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are negative life events occurring before the age of 18 y. ACEs are risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in adult life. Furthermore, individuals who experience ACEs are more likely to smoke and become obese—factors associated with poor oral health. Objective: This study investigated likely associations between ACEs and the oral health measures of the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Methods: Data from 16,354 participants of the 2010 BRFSS were analyzed with SAS 9.4. ACE scores were calculated in 2 domains: abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual) and household challenges (parental separation or divorce, intimate partner violence, household substance abuse, household mental illness, and incarceration). ACE scores, ranging from 0 to 8, were categorized into 0, 1, 2, 3, and ≥4. The 2010 BRFSS oral health measures included >1 y since last dental visit, ≥6 teeth extracted, and ≥2 y since last dental cleaning. Survey logistic regression estimated prevalence odds ratios and 95% CIs, adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment. Results: The weighted mean ACE score was 1.74 (95% CI = 1.68 to 1.81), and the weighted and age-standardized percentages of study participants with ACE scores of 0, 1, 2, 3, and ≥4 were 33.1%, 24.3%, 14.9%, 9.69%, and 18.1%, respectively. There appeared to be a dose-response association between categories of ACE scores and the oral health measures. Specifically, when compared with participants with an ACE score of 0, participants with ACE scores of 1, 2, 3, and ≥4 had adjusted prevalence odds ratios (95% CIs) of 1.10 (0.82 to 1.47), 1.20 (0.90 to 1.60), 1.35 (0.98 to 1.85), and 1.72 (1.31 to 2.26), respectively, for reporting ≥2 y since last dental cleaning. Conclusions: Findings suggest that ACEs may be associated with poor oral health measures in adulthood, even after adjusting for important oral diseases risk factors. Longitudinal follow-up studies are needed to delineate pathways by which this relationship occurs. Knowledge Transfer Statement: Our findings indicate that exposure to childhood trauma may have negative impacts on oral health in adulthood. Oral health practitioners need to be aware of the potential impacts of childhood trauma on health behaviors that ultimately affect oral health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-125
Number of pages10
JournalJDR Clinical and Translational Research
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adult
  • childhood exposure
  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • trauma
  • trauma informed care

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