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Socio-economic Inequality in Professionally Administered Topical Fluoride among Mexican Schoolchildren



Objective: To identify and characterize socio-economic inequalities in professionally administered topical fluoride treatment to schoolchildren.

Methods: One thousand six hundred and forty-four schoolchildren [6 to 13 years of age, mean 9.06 ± 2.02; years 50.9% boys] were included in a cross-sectional study. Using questionnaires directed to mothers/guardians, we collected sociodemographic, socio-economic and dental variables. The dependent variable was at least one professional application of topical fluoride by a dentist in the previous year. Dentists in Mexico carry out the scope of clinical care traditionally assigned to dental hygienists in the United States of America (USA) and Canada. A multivariate logistic regression model was generated.

Results: The prevalence of fluoride application was 11.5 % (95% CI = 9.9, 13.0). In the multivariate model, the odds of having a topical fluoride application was higher in children who reported brushing teeth more often (OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.22, 2.15) and in children from families with better socio-economic position (OR = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.06, 1.50).

Conclusions: The experience of having fluoride administered by a dentist in the previous year was low overall in this sample of Mexican children. The results of the study suggest certain socio-economic inequalities. Strategies aimed at eliminating such inequalities across the socioeconomic spectrum are necessary if this population group is to follow recommended frequency schedules for topical fluoride applications.

29 Oct, 2015
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e-Published: 30 Oct, 2015
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