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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2014 Jan;35(1):67-77.

[Factors associated with dental caries and periodontal diseases in Latin American indigenous peoples: a systematic review].

[Article in Portuguese]

Author information

  • 1Subsecretaria de Vigilância em Saúde, Secretaria do Estado de Saúde do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil,
  • 2Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Manguinhos, RJ, Brasil.
  • 3Instituto de Estudos em Saúde Coletiva, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.



To identify the factors associated with dental caries and periodontal diseases in indigenous populations in Latin America.


The search was conducted between January and February 2012 in the following databases: MEDLINE/PubMed, SCOPUS, SciELO, and LILACS. The references of the identified articles were also searched. The initial search retrieved 74 articles, 33 of which were selected according to inclusion and exclusion criteria. The methodological quality of the studies was evaluated according to STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) recommendations.


Most of the populations studied were Brazilian, with the highest percentage of studies focusing on the Xingu and Xavante communities (31.6%). Most studies were cross-sectional. One of the studies showed a positive association between tooth loss and increasing age among the Guaraní population in Brazil, with the largest proportion of gingival bleeding among adolescent males and females showing a higher number of sextants excluded for tooth loss. Two Brazilian longitudinal studies with Xavante communities showed significant differences in the incidence of caries for age and sex.


Increasing age and differences between sexes are possible factors associated with an increase in dental caries and periodontal diseases in the Guaraní and Xavante people in Brazil. The lack of studies with an appropriate methodology renders Latin American indigenous peoples epidemiologically invisible, hindering the production of knowledge on oral health status and on the development of strategies for oral disease prevention and health promotion in these populations.

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