Oral Health

Understanding oral health in Appalachia is the major focus of our study. We measure oral health with a comprehensive dental assessment. Our team of dental professionals conducts extensive oral health history interviews and examines participants for caries, papillary bleeding, malocclusion, and trauma. Additionally, we take plaque samples for microbial analysis and measure stimulated saliva secretion rates.


With respect to oral health, we plan to

  • Characterize families clinically and compare these findings to demographic, general health, oral microbiology, and genetic findings
  • Identify about 80 “high-risk” families out of the original 500 who have at least one family member in the top 10% of the decayed, missing, and filled surfaces index (DMFS). The 80 high-risk families will be expanded to include about 500 additional family members.

Recent Papers and Presentations:

1. Martin CA, McNeil DW, Crout RJ, Lawrence SM, Weyant RJ. Orthodontic treatment needs in Appalachian youth and their parents. Poster presentation, 80th General Session of the International Association of Dental Research/American Association of Dental Research, March 2002, San Diego, CA. J of Dental Research 81:A-432. [abstract]

2. Polk DE, Weyant RJ, McNeil DW, Crout RJ, Marazita ML. Socioeconomic status and number and treatment of caries. Oral platform presentation, 83rd Annual Meeting of the International Association for Dental Research/34th Annual meeting of the American Association of Dental Research, March 9-12, 2005, Baltimore, MD. [abstract]

3. Polk DE, Weyant RJ, McNeil DW, Crout RJ, Marazita ML. Socioeconomic disparity and periodontal disease. Poster presentation, 64th annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, March 1-4, 2006, Denver, Colorado. Psychosom Med Jan-Feb;68(1):A102 – A103, 2006. [abstract]

4. Weyant RJ, Polk D, McNeil DN, Crout R, Marazita ML. Familial transmission of gingival bleeding risk. Poster presentation, Gordon Research Conference on Periodontal Disease, June 4-9, 2006, Il Ciocco, Barga, Italy.[abstract]