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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

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


GUIOTOKU, Sandra Katsue et al. Racial inequity in oral health in Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.31, n.2, pp.135-141. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To identify racial inequities in oral health between groups of adults selfdeclared as white, black, or mixed in Brazil. METHODS: Secondary data were obtained from the national oral health survey of the Brazilian population (SB-Brasil 2002-2003) database. Initially, a cross-sectional study was conducted to compare the following outcome variables: caries, tooth loss, pain of dental origin, and need for prostheses according to race/color in a sample of 12 811 adults of both sexes, aged 35 to 44 years. In the second stage, an ecologic study was carried out with data aggregated by Brazilian state to contextualize racial inequity in a population of 6 918 black individuals (black and mixed). For that, the oral health outcomes studied in the first stage were correlated with human development and income distribution indicators. RESULTS: Significant differences were observed between the race/color groups for all oral health outcomes examined (P < 0.01). Correlations were found between oral health outcomes and indicators related to the human development profile, average family income, and income inequality by state for the group of Brazilian blacks. CONCLUSIONS:The results show racial inequity in oral health in Brazil for all the indicators analyzed (caries, tooth loss, pain, and need for prostheses), with greater vulnerability among the black population compared to whites. Contextual factors related to the human development profile, income distribution, and access to health care policies appear to play a key role in describing the vulnerability of populations to oral health problems.

Keywords : Oral health; health inequalities; population groups; socioeconomic factors; adult; Brazil.

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