Community Dental Health

cover art

Cover Date:
June 2014
Print ISSN:
0265 539X

CDH June14 3300-Carta pp123-128.pdf

Community Dental Health (2014) 31, 123–128 Received 17 September 2013; Accepted 5 February 2014

© BASCD 2014 doi:10.1922/CDH_3300Carta06

Oral health inequalities in Italian schoolchildren a cross-sectional evaluation

Objective: To evaluate which of the following indicators of socio-economic status (SES) has the strongest association with dental caries status in a 6-year-old population: the educational level of each parent (individual-level); the mean price of housing/m2 in the area where the family resides; or the mean per capita income in the area where the family lives (area-level). Material and Methods: Dental caries was recorded in 2,040 schoolchildren (42.5% boys, 57.5% girls) using decayed/missed/filled surface index (d3 level) in primary dentition. Parents filled in a standardised questionnaire regarding nationality, level of education, frequency of dental check-up and perception of child’s oral health and child’s oral hygiene habits. Results: At the individual-level of SES, mothers’ educational level was associated with their children’s caries severity (χ2(9)=147.51 p<0.01): as educational level rose the proportion of children with high numbers of carious lesions fell. The two income indicators (area-level SES) were not associated. A multinomial logistic regression model was run for caries risk factors. Caries severity was used as dependent variable and the model was stratified by mothers’ educational level. Mothers’ perception of child’s oral health was the only covariate that was always associated in every caries severity strata and for each level of mothers’ education. Conclusions: The present study shows that mothers’ educational level is a useful individual SES indicator for caries in Italian children living in a low-income population.

Key words: dental caries, socio-economic status, socio-behavioural variables, primary dentition, Italian schoolchildren.

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G. Carta, M.G. Cagetti, S. Sale, G. Congiu, L. Strohmenger, F. Oleari, M. Bossù, P. Lingström, G. Campus

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