Dental caries concentrated among low-socio economic status individuals, finds Study
According to researchers from the Social Development and Health Promotion Research Center, Health Institute, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran, there was a pro-rich socioeconomic-related inequality in dental caries among middle-aged adults, meaning that dental caries was more concentrated among low-SES individuals.
SES, age and female gender were important predictors of inequality in the distribution of dental caries experience in Iranian middle-aged adults. Policy interventions aimed at reducing socioeconomic inequalities in dental caries experience should focus on females, older age groups, low-SES individuals and rural population.
The study is published in the International Dental Journal.
Studies on dental caries inequalities in low- and middle-income countries are relatively scarce. There are only a few studies on measuring socioeconomic inequalities in dental status in Iran that have focused on children, adolescents and younger adults. Till date, no study has been published on measuring the magnitude of inequality in dental caries in the middle-aged population in Iran.
Hence, Moslem Soofi and associates aimed to measure socioeconomic inequality in dental caries experience and to identify determinants of this inequality.
This cross-sectional analysis included 10,002 adults aged 35–65 years. Caries experience was dichotomised based on the decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) of one-third of the population with the highest caries scores (i.e. significant caries index).
Socioeconomic status (SES) was calculated using the principal component analysis. The concentration index (CI) was used to quantify the extent of socioeconomic inequality in dental caries experience.
Decomposition analysis was conducted to quantify the contribution of each determinant to the observed inequality.
The results showed that-
- The mean DMFT for all individuals was 16.1 (SD 9.1).
- The CI of having significant dental caries was –0.236 (95% CI: –0.0259, –0.213), indicating that having significant dental caries was more concentrated among low-SES individuals.
- SES (65.6%), age group (24.7%) and female gender (3.7%) were found to have the largest percentage of contributions to the observed inequality in dental caries.
Therefore, the authors concluded that "the findings highlight the importance of early prevention of dental caries experience before it happens. To mitigate inequalities in dental caries experience, policy interventions should focus on females, older age groups, and low-SES individuals."