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Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology

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Single‐item self‐reported oral health (SROH) is a convenient and reliable measure for the assessment of population‐based oral health. However, little is known about trends and its associations among US adults. This study investigated trends in SROH (aged 20+ years) and the associated factors among adults living in the United States.


Self‐reported oral health data for 41 621 adults aged 20+ years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999 to 2014 were analysed. Survey‐weighted descriptive statistics were computed to provide nationally representative estimates. Multivariable logistic regression was performed separately for each survey period with SROH as the primary outcome. Independent variables included were age, gender, race/ethnicity, education level and family poverty income ratio or PIR. Pooled survey‐weighted multivariable logistic regression was also performed to consider possible time‐changing effects.


The survey‐weighted proportions of “excellent or very good” in SROH increased from 27% in 1999‐2000 (n = 4873) to 38% in 2013‐2014 (n = 5765). Separate multivariable logistic analyses for each survey period suggested that females, Whites (vs Mexican and Black Americans) as well as respondents from high family PIR had higher odds of reporting their oral health as “excellent or very good” (P < .05). The pooled multivariable logistic model confirmed results in the separate logistic regression, and respondents in the more recent survey periods had higher probabilities of reporting “excellent or very good” oral health. Respondents aged 50‐59 years were found to have relatively lower probabilities of reporting “excellent or very good” oral health, while people aged 20‐29 years had higher probabilities than those aged 30‐39 years. Compared to respondents with lower education, those with higher education were more likely to report their oral health as excellent or very good.


Self‐reported oral health improved from 1999 to 2014. In general, respondents who were young, female, White, had higher education or higher income or were surveyed in more recent years reported excellent or very good oral health.


Accepted version. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Vol. 46, No. 2 (April 2018): 203-211. DOI. © 1999-2019 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Used with permission.

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