NIH Research Festival
Background: Poor oral health in individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be linked to physiologic changes and health behavior practices including effects of alcohol on local soft and hard dental tissues; the compounding biological effect of alcohol on the human body; and the potential daily neglect in optimal oral care practices within this population.
Aim: Determine the behaviors and oral health outcomes of treatment seeking individuals with AUD.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on 323 of 423 patients admitted for treatment from January 2017 to December 2021. AUD-associated metrics and oral health measures including Becks Oral Assessment Scale (BOAS), oral pain, periodontal disease classification (PD), alveolar bone loss (ABL), oral health and smoking behaviors were collected. Associations were assessed by Pearson correlations, Chi-square test, t-test, and ANOVA.
Results: Of the 323 referred for dental consults, 142 individuals (mean age 45.5; male (66.2%); White (52.1%)) were included in the final analyses. Race (p=.045), education (p=.037), age (p<.001), heavy drinking years (p<.001) and pack-years of smoking (p=012) were associated with PD. Oral pain was associated with overall maximum withdrawal score(p<.001) and brushing frequency (p=.045). Heavy drinking years (p=.008) and brushing frequency were associated with BOAS. Age (p=.036) and alcohol type (p=.007) were associated with ABL.
Conclusion: Individuals with AUD, High withdrawal severity, heavy drinking years, and high smoking pack years are at increased risk for severe PD. These results demonstrate a need for universal dental screening and interventional dental care in this underserved population.
Key words: oral health, periodontal disease.
Scientific Focus Area: Health Disparities
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