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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


MACHADO, Luciene Petcov; CAMARGO, Maria Beatriz Junqueira; JERONYMO, José Carlos Milanez  and  BASTOS, Gisele Alsina Nader. Regular use of dental services among adults and older adults in a vulnerable region in Southern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2012, vol.46, n.3, pp.526-533. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of regular use of dental care services by adults and older adults residing in vulnerable community and to identify associated factors. METHODS: A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out with 3,391 adults and older adults residing in areas of social vulnerability in Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil, from July to December of 2009. A systematic sampling method was used the selection probability proportional to the population of each of the the 121 census sectors. The outcome for regular use of dental care services was defined as regular use of dental services, regardless of the presence of dental problems. A standardized questionnaire was administered, which included demographic, socioeconomic, type of dental care services, self-perception of dental health and self-perceived needs variables. A chi-square test for heterogeneity was used for bivariate analyses, and a Poisson regression with a robust variance and Wald tests were performed for the adjusted analysis. RESULTS: The prevalence of regular use of dental services was 25.7%. The prevalence was higher among people with >12 years schooling (PR 2.48 [95%CI:1.96;3.15]), higher income (PR 1.95[95%CI: 1.03;1.53]), use of private health services (PR 1.43 [95%CI: 1.20;1.71]),excellent self-perceived oral health (PR 4.44 [95%CI: 3.07;6.42]) and a self-perceived need for consultation related to routine checkup (RP 2.13 [95%CI: 1.54;2.96]). CONCLUSIONS: Inequalities were found in the regular use of dental services. Integrated approaches that raise awareness of oral health, improve self-care and expand access to dental services, may contribute to increase the use of dental services on a regular basis.

Keywords : Vulnerable Populations; Dental Care, utilization; Oral Health; Cross-Sectional Studies.

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