OBJECTIVES: We assessed the prevalences of periodontitis by education and income levels among US adults with data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
METHODS: The study was limited to non-Hispanic Blacks, Mexican Americans, and non-Hispanic Whites 50 years of age or older with a complete periodontal assessment during the dental examination.
RESULTS: Blacks with higher education and income levels had a significantly higher prevalence of periodontitis than their White and Mexican-American counterparts. The relationship between income level and periodontitis was modified by race/ethnicity. High-income Blacks exhibited a higher prevalence of periodontitis than did low-income Blacks and high-income Whites.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings call attention to the importance of recognizing socioeconomic status-related health differences across racial/ethnic groups within the social, political, and historical context.