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1.  Oral Chlamydia trachomatis in Patients with Established Periodontitis 
Clinical oral investigations  2000;4(4):226-232.
Periodontitis is considered a consequence of a pathogenic microbial infection at the periodontal site and host susceptibility factors. Periodontal research supports the association of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, and Bacteroides forsythus, and periodontitis; however causality has not been demonstrated. In pursuit of the etiology of periodontitis, we hypothesized that the intracellular bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, may play a role. As a first step, a cross-sectional study of dental school clinic patients with established periodontitis were assessed for the presence of C. trachomatis in the oral cavity, and in particular from the lining epithelium of periodontal sites. C. trachomatis was detected using a direct fluorescent monoclonal antibody (DFA) in oral specimens from 7% (6/87) of the patients. Four patients tested positive in specimens from the lining epithelium of diseased periodontal sites, one patient tested positive in healthy periodontal sites, and one patient tested positive in the general mucosal specimen. In conclusion, this study provides preliminary evidence of C. trachomatis in the periodontal sites. Planned studies include the use of a more precise periodontal epithelial cell collection device, the newer nucleic acid amplification techniques to detect C. trachomatis, and additional populations to determine the association of C. trachomatis and periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC2760468  PMID: 11218493
Chlamydia; Chlamydia trachomatis; Fluorescent antibody technique; Periodontal diseases; Periodontitis
2.  Lead levels in blood and saliva in a low-income population of Detroit, Michigan 
The relationships between blood lead (PbB) and saliva lead (PbSa) concentrations and the determinants of PbB and PbSa status in 970 low-income adults in the city of Detroit, Michigan were explored. Average PbB and PbSa values in the sample population were found to be 2.7 ± 0.1 μg/dl and 2.4 ± 0.13 μg/l (equivalent to 0.24 ± 0.13 μg/dl), respectively, and a weak but statistically significant association was found between the lead levels in the two types of body fluid samples. The average PbB level for men (4.0 ± 0.56 μg/dl) was higher than that for women (2.7 ± 0.11 μg/dl); other significant predictors of PbB included age, level of education, being employed, income level, the presence of peeling paint on the wall at home and smoking. There was no gender- or age-dependent difference in blood saliva values but statistically significant correlations were found between PbSa and level of education, employment, income level and smoking. Dental caries was severe in this population. Only 0.5% of the participants had no clinical signs of caries, over 80% had cavitated carious lesions (i.e., lesions that had progressed into dentin), and the number of lost teeth and carious lesions averaged 3.4 and 30, respectively. Weak but significant associations were found between PbB as well as PbSa and measures of dental caries in the study population. The positive associations are believed to be a reflection of the fact that the risk factors for dental caries, especially in low-income populations of the US, overlap extensively with those of lead poisoning and may not have a causal significance.
PMCID: PMC1819402  PMID: 16443391
Blood lead; Saliva lead; Dental caries; Lead exposure; Biomonitoring; Lead poisoning
3.  Assessment of the Relationship between Neighborhood Characteristics and Dental Caries Severity among Low-Income African-Americans: A Multilevel Approach 
To assess the relationship between neighborhood effects and the severity of dental caries among low-income African-Americans.
A multistage probability sample of African-American families living in the poorest 39 census tracts in Detroit was drawn. During 2002–03, cross-sectional data of a cohort that includes 1021 caregivers were collected in the first of three waves of interviews and examinations. Multilevel analyses focused on 27 neighborhood clusters and involved a combination of individual (Level-1) and neighborhood (Level-2) data including census and geocoded (address matching to census geographic areas) information.
There is significant variation in the severity of caries between low-income neighborhood clusters. Caries severity decreases with a higher number of churches, while it increases with a higher number of grocery stores in the clusters after accounting for individual characteristics. Only 14% of the inter-individual variability in caries was explained by classical individual risk factors for this condition.
Neighborhoods contribute something unique to caregivers’ oral health, beyond socioeconomic position and individual risk factors. Multilevel interventions are necessary to reduce disparities among African-Americans and churches may offer a promising venue from which to conduct them.
PMCID: PMC1817893  PMID: 16570748
African-American; dental caries; multilevel analysis; neighborhood effects
Caries research  2006;40(6):473-480.
The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between dietary patterns and caries experience in a representative group of low-income African-American adults. Participants were residents of Detroit, Michigan, with household incomes below 250% of the federally-established poverty level (n = 1,021). Dietary histories were obtained by trained interviewers in face-to-face interviews with the adult participants, using the Block 98.2® food frequency questionnaire developed by Block Dietary Systems, Berkeley, CA. Caries was measured by the ICDAS criteria (International Caries Detection and Assessment System). There were 200 dietary records whose data were judged to be invalid; these participants were omitted from the dietary analyses to leave n = 821. Analyses were conducted using software from SAS and SUDAAN. Factor analysis identified patterns of liquid and solid food consumption, and the resulting factor scores were used as covariates in multivariable linear regression. Caries was extensive, with 82.3% of the 1,021 participants (n=839) having at least one cavitated lesion. Nearly three-quarters of the adult participants were overweight or obese. This population has severe caries, poor oral hygiene, and diets that are high in sugars and fats and low in fruits and vegetables. Apart from tapwater, the most frequently consumed food item by adults of all ages was soft drinks; 19% of all energy from sugar came from soft drinks alone. In both the bivariate analyses and in the regression model, frequency of soft drink consumption and the presence of gingival plaque deposits were significantly associated with caries. Interventions to promote oral health are unlikely to be successful without improvements in the social and physical environment.
PMCID: PMC1626651  PMID: 17063017
diet; dietary patterns; soft drinks; sugars; fat consumption; caries; plaque deposits; oral hygiene; adults; disparities; low-income

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