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International Journal of Dentistry
Volume 2015, Article ID 469376, 12 pages
Research Article

Oral Health in a Sample of Pregnant Women from Northern Appalachia (2011–2015)

1School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Bridgeside Point Suite 500, 100 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
2Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia (COHRA), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
3School of Dentistry, Department of Dental Practice & Rural Health, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, 53 Campus Drive, P.O. Box 6040, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
4School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
5School of Dental Medicine, Department of Dental Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 3501 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
6Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, 130 De Soto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
7Department of Periodontics, West Virginia University, Room G110-B HSC, N. Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
8Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
9University Center for Social and Urban Research, 3343 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Received 27 February 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Najla Dar-Odeh

Copyright © 2015 Katherine Neiswanger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Chronic poor oral health has a high prevalence in Appalachia, a large region in the eastern USA. The Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia (COHRA) has been enrolling pregnant women and their babies since 2011 in the COHRA2 study of genetic, microbial, and environmental factors involved in oral health in Northern Appalachia. Methods. The COHRA2 protocol is presented in detail, including inclusion criteria (healthy, adult, pregnant, US Caucasian, English speaking, and nonimmunocompromised women), recruiting (two sites: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, USA), assessments (demographic, medical, dental, psychosocial/behavioral, and oral microbial samples and DNA), timelines (longitudinal from pregnancy to young childhood), quality control, and retention rates. Results. Preliminary oral health and demographic data are presented in 727 pregnant women, half from the greater Pittsburgh region and half from West Virginia. Despite similar tooth brushing and flossing habits, COHRA2 women in West Virginia have significantly worse oral health than the Pittsburgh sample. Women from Pittsburgh are older and more educated and have less unemployment than the West Virginia sample. Conclusions. We observed different prevalence of oral health and demographic variables between pregnant women from West Virginia (primarily rural) and Pittsburgh (primarily urban). These observations suggest site-specific differences within Northern Appalachia that warrant future studies.