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Open Access Research article

Social capital and dental pain in Brazilian northeast: a multilevel cross-sectional study

Bianca Marques Santiago1*, Ana Maria Gondim Valença2 and Mario Vianna Vettore3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinic and Social Dentistry, Federal University of Paraíba, Rua Silvino Chaves, 1061 (ap.1401), Manaíra, João Pessoa, PB, CEP: 58.038-420, Brazil

2 Department of Clinic and Social Dentistry, Federal University of Paraíba, Rua Jacinto Dantas, 94 (ap. 206), Manaíra, João Pessoa, PB, CEP: 58038-270, Brazil

3 Institute of Studies in Public Health, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Av. Brigadeiro Trompowski, s/nº.Praca da Prefeitura, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, CEP 21949-900, Brazil

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BMC Oral Health 2013, 13:2  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-2

Published: 4 January 2013

Abstract

Background

There is limited evidence on possible associations between social determinants and dental pain. This study investigated the relationship of neighborhood and individual social capital with dental pain in adolescents, adults and the elderly.

Methods

A population-based multilevel study was conducted involving 624 subjects from 3 age groups: 15–19, 35–44 and 65–74 years. They were randomly selected from 30 census tracts in three cities in the State of Paraíba, Brazil. A two-stage cluster sampling was used considering census tracts and households as sampling units. The outcome of study was the presence of dental pain in the last 6 months. Information on dental pain, demographic, socio-economic, health-related behaviors, use of dental services, self-perceived oral health and social capital measures was collected through interviews. Participants underwent a clinical examination for assessment of dental caries. Neighborhood social capital was evaluated using aggregated measures of social trust, social control, empowerment, political efficacy and neighborhood safety. Individual social capital assessment included bonding and bridging social capital. Multilevel logistic regression was used to test the relationship of neighborhood and individual social capital with dental pain after sequential adjustment for covariates.

Results

Individuals living in neighborhoods with high social capital were 52% less likely to report dental pain than those living in neighborhoods with low social capital (OR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.27-0.85). Bonding social capital (positive interaction) was independently associated with dental pain (OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.80-0.91). Last dental visit, self-perceived oral health and number of decayed teeth were also significantly associated with dental pain.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that contextual and individual social capital are independently associated with dental pain.

Keywords:
Dental pain; Epidemiology; Oral health; Social capital; Socioeconomic factors