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

  • Listl, Stefan1, 2
  • Broadbent, Jonathan M3
  • Thomson, W Murray3
  • Stock, Christian4
  • Shen, Jing5
  • Steele, Jimmy5
  • Wildman, John5
  • Heilmann, Anja6
  • Watt, Richard G6
  • Tsakos, Georgios6
  • Peres, Marco A7
  • van der Heijden, Geert8
  • Jürges, Hendrik9
  • 1 Department of Quality and Safety of Oral Health Care, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 2 Department of Conservative Dentistry, Translational Health Economics Group (THE Group), Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 3 Sir John Walsh Research Institute, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. , (New Zealand)
  • 4 Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 5 Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK.
  • 6 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.
  • 7 Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH), University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 8 Department of Social Dentistry, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 9 Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany. , (Germany)
Published Article
Community dentistry and oral epidemiology
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2018
DOI: 10.1111/cdoe.12332
PMID: 28925509


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. 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+. 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. 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. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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