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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


MELLO, Tatiana Ribeiro de Campos; ANTUNES, Jose Leopoldo Ferreira  and  WALDMAN, Eliseu Alves. Prevalence of untreated caries in deciduous teeth in urban and rural areas in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.23, n.2, pp.78-84. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of dental caries in children with deciduous teeth in urban and rural areas in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and to identify associated factors. METHODS: The study included 24 744 children (5-7 years of age) examined as part of an epidemiological survey on oral health carried out in the state of São Paulo (Levantamento Epidemiológico de Saúde Bucal do Estado de São Paulo). Multilevel analysis was used to investigate whether the prevalence of untreated caries was associated with the sociodemographic characteristics of the children examined or with the socioeconomic aspects of the participating cities. RESULTS: Being black or brown (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.27), attending school in rural areas (adjusted OR = 1.88), and attending public school (adjusted OR = 3.41) were identified as determinants for an increased probability of presenting deciduous teeth with untreated caries. Being a female (adjusted OR = 0.83) was identified as a protective factor. The negative coefficients obtained for second-level independent variables indicate that the oral health profile of the cities included in the study were positively impacted by a higher municipal human development index (b = -0.47) and fluoridated drinking water (b = -0.32). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of untreated caries is influenced by individual and sociodemographic factors. The present study provides epidemiological information concerning the rural areas in the state of São Paulo. This information is useful for strategic planning and for establishing guidelines for oral health actions in local health systems, thereby contributing to oral health equity.

Keywords : Dental caries; dental health services; rural population; socioeconomic factors; Brazil.

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