Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation - Restricted (NYMC/Touro only) Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Knapp

Second Advisor

Dr. Erin Bouldin

Third Advisor

Dr. Hesham Alhazmi


Purpose of the Study: This retrospective study was conducted to explore the correlation between oral health and the prevalence of falls among caregivers in the United States, using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys from 2016, 2018, and 2020. The aim was to examine if a lower oral health status and less frequent utilization of dental services were associated with a higher risk of falls among caregivers.

Methods: The sample included a total of 152,028 respondents from 24 states and territories, with a concentration on individuals aged 45 and older, amounting to 97,550 respondents. The correlation between oral health, frequency of dental service utilization, and risk of falls was analyzed using these data sets.

Results: Analysis reveals that poor oral health, denoted by a higher number of lost teeth, and less frequent use of dental services significantly increased the odds of experiencing a fall among both caregivers and the general population. Yet, caregivers exhibited a heightened vulnerability to these factors. Higher Prevalence rates of falls were noticed among middle-aged white non-Hispanics, smokers, obese individuals, and those battling depression or multiple chronic conditions. On the other hand, fall incidences were less frequent among black non-Hispanics, married individuals, those employed, and people maintaining regular physical activity.

Conclusion: The findings from this study emphasize the critical role of comprehensive oral health and dental care in reducing the risk of falls, especially among caregivers. The study advocates for regular oral health check-ups, improved access to dental care, and the inclusion of oral health in fall prevention strategies, starting from middle-aged adults. Suggested policy interventions comprise governmental subsidies for dental care, public awareness initiatives about oral health and fall prevention, and strategic collaborations to boost access to oral health care. Additionally, the expansion of dental insurance coverage and the inclusion of dental procedures in Medicaid programs are recommended to enhance oral health among middle-aged adults and caregivers, thereby mitigating fall risk and its subsequent consequences.