The current, predominantly biomedical, conceptualization of oral health is largely unable to provide information about the burden of oral disease to the individual or the community, or the psychosocial factors which contribute to the prevention, development and impact of oral disease. Relatively little attention has been paid in dentistry to the role of psychosocial factors in oral health, despite strongly suggestive evidence in medicine that psychosocial factors are significant causes of morbidity. The first step toward creating a more inclusive model of oral health is to understand the relationships among the various domains which might be included in a more comprehensive, biopsychosocial model, such as biological, psychological, environmental, and social factors. A systematic investigation of the relations between these domains is proposed, utilizing 30 years of biomedical, dental and psychosocial archival data from the well characterized population of the Normative Aging Study (NAS) and its dental component, the Dental Longitudinal Study (DLS).
The specific aims of this project are: 1) to examine the relations between general health indices and each of three oral health domains: oral health behaviors (OHB), oral health status (OHS), and oral function (OF); 2) to examine the relations between psychosocial factors and each of the three oral health domains; and 3) to examine the relations between psychosocial factors and individuals' self assessed impact of oral disease on their daily functioning (oral health related quality of life: OHQOL).
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