March 2019

Volume 36, Issue 1

Interventions to reduce socio-economic inequalities in dental service utilisation – a systematic review

Authors: Raison H Harris RV
doi: 10.1922/CDH_4306Raison07


Objective: A gradient exists where people with lower socio-economic status (SES) use dental services less regularly than others. Evidence suggests these SES differences may contribute to inequalities in oral health. A variety of approaches have been tried to increase regular dental service use, although it is possible that some are ineffective or may even widen SES inequalities. We aimed to undertake a systematic review of interventions to reduce SES differences in dental visiting. Basic research design: Interventions limited to those influencing dental service use by adults. Any type of experimental design, investigating interventions aiming to reduce SES inequalities in dental service use, was included. Primary outcome was a measure of dental utilisation. Results: Electronic search of 8 databases, with citation snowballing, identified 14,396 titles and abstracts. Paper eligibility screening identified 63 full papers, of which 6 met the inclusion criteria. All included studies were conducted in the United States. Of these, three were targeted to parents, and two towards pregnant women. Two studies incorporated mailing postcards as (at least) one component of the intervention, although results were mixed. Another three studies included scheduling dental appointments as part of a multi-component approach, again with mixed results. The remaining study, involving community health advisors undertaking activities aimed at raising community awareness, found no significant intervention effect. Conclusions: Evidence in this area is limited and results are mixed. More work is needed to investigate the effectiveness of interventions to reduce SES inequalities, especially in different healthcare systems and involving a wider participant range. Keywords: Dental visiting, inequalities, dental practice, systematic review, socio-economic status


Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
Editorial ‘No simple solutions, no single ingredient’: Systems-orientated approaches for addressing Wicked Problems in population oral health 3-4 Download
Dental Public Health in Action: The use of the NICE ten step model to conduct an oral health needs assessment in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw 5-8 Download
Caries-preventive efficacy of a supervised school toothbrushing programme in Northland, New Zealand 9-16 Download
Socioeconomic Variation in the association between Malocclusion and Oral Health Related Quality of Life 17-21 Download
Low rates of dental attendance by the age of one and inequality between local government administrative areas in England 22-26 Download
The relationship between body mass index and oral health status among Saudi adults: a cross-sectional study 27-32 Download
The acceptability of fluoride varnish and fissure sealant treatments in children aged 6-9 delivered in a school setting 33-38 Download
Interventions to reduce socio-economic inequalities in dental service utilisation – a systematic review 39-45 Download
Embarrassing realities: The portrayal of dentistry in reality tv ‘dentertainment’ 46-54 Download
Systems science and oral health: Implications for Dental Public Health? 55-62 Download
The Boundaries between Caries and Periodontal Diseases. What are the Implications for Education in Dental Public Health? Proceedings of EADPH/SESPO Pre-Congress Workshop held on Wednesday, 17 October 2018 at The Centro Cultural Sa Nostra Congress Cen 63-86 Download


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