Oral Health and Risk of Arthritis in the Scottish Population: Results from the Scottish Health Survey

Hadeel Abbood, George Cherukara, Ejaz Pathan, Tatiana MacFarlane

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Objectives: To investigate the link between self-reported oral health and arthritis in the Scottish population using data from the Scottish Health Survey.

Material and Methods: Data were available from 2008 to 2013 on self-reported arthritis, oral health conditions and oral hygiene habits from the Scottish Health Survey. Arthritis was defined in this survey by self-reported long standing illness, those who reported having arthritis, rheumatism and/or fibrositis. Oral conditions were defined by self-reported bleeding gums, toothache, biting difficulties and/or edentulousness. Oral hygiene habits were defined by self-reported brushing teeth and/or using dental floss on daily basis. Logistic regression was used for statistical analysis adjusted for age, gender, qualification, smoking and body mass index.

Results: Prevalence of self-reported arthritis was 9.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 9.03 to 9.57). Those who reported having bleeding gums (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.63; 95% CI = 1.35 to 1.96), toothache (OR = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.16 to 1.5), biting difficulties (OR = 1.95; 95% CI = 1.62 to 2.34), and being edentulous (OR = 1.22; 95% CI = 1.08 to 1.37) had an increased risk of arthritis. Brushing teeth (OR = 1.25; 95% CI = 0.74 to 2.12), and using dental floss (OR = 1.11; 95% CI = 0.89 to 1.39) were not associated with arthritis.

Conclusions: Self-reported oral conditions were associated with increased risk of self-reported arthritis. Oral hygiene habits were not associated with self-reported arthritis. Further investigation is required to assess the causal association between oral hygiene, oral disease and arthritis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Oral & Maxillofacial Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge the ScotCen Social Research, Scottish Government and the UK Data Archive for providing these data for research purposes. They bear no responsibility for any further analysis or interpretation. Hadeel Mohammed Abbood received funding from the Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq (HCED-Iraq) to undertake her PhD. Hadeel Mohammed Abbood is grateful to Ms Shifa Sarica (Epidemiology Group, University of Aberdeen, UK) for help with manuscript editing.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest related to this study.

Although all efforts are made to ensure the quality of the materials, neither the original data creators, depositors, the funders of neither the data collections, nor the UK Data Archive bear any responsibility for the accuracy or comprehensiveness of these materials.


  • arthritis
  • oral health
  • oral hygiene
  • periodontal diseases


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