Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
PALMIER, Andréa Clemente et al. Socioeconomic indicators and oral health services in an underprivileged area of Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.1, pp. 22-29. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892012000700004.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between the proportion of tooth extractions, socioeconomic indicators, and the availability of oral health services in an underprivileged area of Brazil. METHODS: An ecological study was carried out in 52 municipalities in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The socioeconomic indicators employed were criteria for health care resources allocation, municipal human development index, Theil index, Gini coefficient, and sanitation conditions. Concerning the availability of oral health services, the following were considered: number of inhabitants, number of dental surgeons living in the city, number of dentists working in the public services, and number of municipal oral health care teams. The utilization of oral health services was evaluated using the indicators recommended by the Health Ministry's Basic Care Package (Pacto da Atencão Básica in Portuguese) and the number of procedures carried out in the primary care setting. The 17 variables assessed were grouped into factorial components, which were then analyzed in terms of their relationship with the dependent variable, tooth extractions. RESULTS: The following six components explained 73.5% of the overall variance: socioeconomic conditions, social inequality, Basic Care Package indicators, number of procedures carried out, ratio of dentists to inhabitants, and coverage of the Family Health Strategy. Inequalities in income distribution (P = 0.031) and coverage by the Family Health Strategy (P = 0.015) contributed significantly to explain the difference in the proportion of tooth extractions in the different municipalities under study. CONCLUSIONS: The dental loss observed in the region is largely explained by socioeconomic factors and aspects related to the organization of oral health services.
Keywords : Dental health services; dental care; health inequalities; socioeconomic factors; Brazil.