Reducing social inequalities in the oral health of an adult population


Braz. oral res.




Abstract The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between social inequality indicators and oral health conditions in an adult population. This prospective cohort study assessed a probabilistic sampling of adults (aged 20–64 years) living in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil. Oral examinations were performed in 2011 and 2015, conducted at home, and used the decay-missing-filled (DMFT) index of permanent teeth, the Community Periodontal Index (CPI), and the visible biofilm criterion. A questionnaire was administered to determine demographic and socioeconomic aspects and dental services used, and collect oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) data. Social inequality indicators were evaluated according to social class (high, middle or low) and type of dental service used (public, health insurance or private), and compared with oral health conditions (visible biofilm, DMFT and incidence of tooth loss, periodontal pockets and bleeding, and OHRQoL), evaluated between 2011 and 2015. Analysis using chi-squared or Fisher tests (p < 0.05) and Cochran’s Q test was conducted separately for each category analyzed between 2011 and 2015 (p < 0.05). A total of 143 adults who participated in an earlier study were examined after four years of follow-up. Although the occurrence of oral disease did not decrease over the study period (4 years), there was a reduction in inequality among lower social classes in regard to presence of tooth decay and oral health impact on self-perceived quality of life between 2011 and 2015 (p < 0.05). These results suggest that the Brazilian National Oral Health Policy has achieved its principles, especially that of greater equity.

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