Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
FERNANDES, Liliane Simara and PERES, Marco Aurélio. Association between primary dental care and municipal socioeconomic indicators. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.39, n.6, pp.930-936. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102005000600010.
OBJECTIVE: To test associations between primary dental care indicators and municipal socioeconomic and dental service provision indicators. METHODS: An ecological study was carried out in the 293 municipalities of the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, between 2000 and 2003. The primary dental care indicators utilized were: (1) coverage; (2) the ratio between preventive dental procedures and the size of the population aged zero to 14 years; and (3) the ratio between the numbers of extractions of permanent teeth and individual dental procedures within primary dental care. The variables investigated were: number of dentists per 1,000 inhabitants; number of dentists within the public health service per 1,000 inhabitants; fluoridation of the water supply; child development index; human development index; and the size of the population in the municipality. Analyses were performed using the Kruskall-Wallis and Chi-square tests. The Spearman test was used to evaluate correlations between the variables. RESULTS:The coverage was 21.8%, the ratio of preventive dental procedures among the population aged zero to 14 years was 0.37 and the proportion of tooth extractions in relation to the total number of individual dental procedures was 11.9 %. Lower rates of tooth extraction were associated with higher numbers of dentists within the public health service (p<0.01). Higher rates of tooth extraction were associated with lower human development indices for the municipalities (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Greater coverage was associated with higher numbers of dentists within the public health system. Municipalities with worse socioeconomic conditions were associated with greater tooth extraction rates. Oral health policies must target municipalities that present worse socioeconomic indicators.
Keywords : Services evaluation; Dental care; Oral health; Primary health care; Economic indexes; Social indicators.