Socioeconomic and psychosocial predictors of dental healthcare use among Brazilian preschool children
1 Department of Stomatology, Federal University of Santa Maria, UFSM, Rua Cel. Niederauer 917/208, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil
2 Centro Universitário Franciscano (UNIFRA), Santa Maria, RS, Brazil
3 Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of São Paulo, USP-SP, São Paulo, Brazil
BMC Oral Health 2013, 13:60 doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-60Published: 31 October 2013
Disparities in utilization of oral healthcare services have been attributed to socioeconomic and individual behavioral factors. Parents’ socioeconomic status, demographics, schooling, and perceptions of oral health may influence their children’s use of dental services. This cross-sectional study assessed the relationships between socioeconomic and psychosocial factors and the utilization of dental health services by children aged 1–5 years.
Data were collected through clinical exams and a structured questionnaire administered during the National Day of Children’s Vaccination. A Poisson regression model was used to estimate prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
Data were collected from a total of 478 children. Only 112 (23.68%) were found to have visited a dentist; 67.77% of those had seen the dentist for preventive care. Most (63.11%) used public rather than private services. The use of dental services varied according to parental socioeconomic status; children from low socioeconomic backgrounds and those whose parents rated their oral health as “poor” used dental services less frequently. The reason for visiting the dentist also varied with socioeconomic status, in that children of parents with poor socioeconomic status and who reported their child’s oral health as “fair/poor” were less likely to have visited the dentist for preventive care.
This study demonstrated that psychosocial and socioeconomic factors are important predictors of the utilization of dental care services.