Domestic violence is associated with poor dental health
NEW YORK, USA: Researchers from the New York University College of Dentistry have found new evidence that noxious family environments may be associated with poorer oral health in adults and children. In a recently published study, they discovered high caries rates in the partners and children of aggressive family members. The findings could provide the foundation for preventive interventions in the future.
The study included 135 married or cohabiting couples and their children of elementary school age. The participants underwent oral examinations by dental hygienists to determine the number of decayed, missing and filled surfaces. In addition, they completed questionnaires about inter-parental and parent-to-child physical aggression and emotional aggression.
Women and men whose partners demonstrated overall hostile behavior toward them had higher levels of cavities compared with participants from innocuous family environments. The same was observed in children. According to the study, the extent of children's caries experience was positively associated with the level of their mothers' emotional aggression toward their partners.
The researchers concluded that noxious family environments may help explain the limitations of routine oral health preventive strategies. They recommended that health care professionals develop interprofessional strategies that also address the family environment.
The study, titled "Noxious Family Environments in Relation to Adult and Childhood Caries," was published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.