September 2018

Volume 35, Issue 3

Social gradient in caries experience of Belgian adults 2010

Authors: Lambert M De Reu G De Visschere L Declerck D Bottenberg P Vanobbergen J
doi: 10.1922/CDH_4254Lambert07

Abstract

Objective: This study aims to explore the caries experience of the Belgian population in relation to social indicators. Basic research design: Data collection (2009-2010) consisted of an oral health questionnaire and examination during a home visit. Participants: Representative sample of the Belgian population (>5 years old). Only the economically active population was included for final analyses. Main outcome measures: ANOVA and multivariable regression analyses were used to reveal associations between social indicators, oral hygiene, untreated decay, DMFT and edentulousness. Results: 2742 participants completed the questionnaire, of whom 2563 were examined clinically. Most (53%) were female and mean age was 43.3 years (95% CI= 41.2-45.4). In the total population, 11.1 % were caries-free (DMFT = 0) and mean DMFT was 10.8 (95% CI = 10.0-11.5). In the analysed subsample, higher educated participants had lower DMFT scores than those with low or no educational qualifications (p = 0.003). Employment status was associated with the presence of untreated tooth decay, especially in the youngest age group (p = 0.015), and with edentulousness (p = 0.02), with a higher risk among unemployed women of being completely edentulous (OR = 5.32; 95% CI = 1.75-16.12). Untreated tooth decay was related to frequency of tooth brushing and plaque index (p < 0.002 and < 0.001 respectively). Conclusions: Caries experience in Belgium, expressed as mean DMFT and proportion of untreated tooth decay, is more associated with level of education and employment status than with family income, which is still the main criterion for larger government allowances for healthcare in Belgium. Key words: Dental caries (MeSH), Epidemiology (MeSH), Social Determinants of Health (MeSH), Adult (MeSH), Socioeconomic Factors (MeSH)

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