Factors associated with oral problems among adults with spinal cord injury

Academic Article


  • Objective: To explore factors associated with self-reported current oral (tooth and gum) problems and oral pain in the past 12 months among adults with spinal cord injury. Methods: An online oral health survey on the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association website. Respondents were 192 adult residents of the US who identified themselves as having spinal cord injury at least 1 year before the survey date. Results: Approximately 47% of respondents reported having oral problems at the time of the survey, and 42% reported experiencing oral pain in the 12 months before the survey date. Multiple predictor analyses (controlling for age, gender, income, and dental insurance) indicated that current oral problems were positively associated with dry mouth symptoms, financial barriers to dental care access, smoking, and paraplegia. Oral pain experienced in the past 12 months was positively associated with dry mouth symptoms, financial barriers to dental care access, minority race, and paraplegia. Conclusions: Adults with spinal cord injury reported a high prevalence of oral problems and oral pain. Those with paraplegia were more likely to report problems than those with tetraplegia. Because dry mouth and smoking were significantly associated with these problems, patient education from both dental and medical providers should emphasize awareness of the side effects of xerostomia-causing medications, dry mouth management, and smoking cessation. Findings also indicate unmet needs for low-cost preventive and treatment dental services for this vulnerable population. © 2009 by the American Paraplegia Society.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yuen HK; Shotwell MS; Magruder KM; Slate EH; Salinas CF
  • Start Page

  • 408
  • End Page

  • 415
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 4