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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2012 Dec;40(6):498-506. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2012.00701.x. Epub 2012 May 19.

Socio-demographic and behavioural inequalities in the impact of dental pain among adults: a population-based study.

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1
Dental School, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess socio-demographic and behavioural inequalities in the impact of dental pain on daily activities, as well as to estimate the prevalence and intensity of dental pain.

METHODS:

A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out in Florianopolis, Southern Brazil, with 1720 adults aged 20-59 years in 2009-2010. Interviews were performed at adults' households, which included socio-demographics and behavioural characteristics, such as smoking status and alcohol abuse, along with mental health, self-reported health, number of retained teeth, dental pain occurrence (including its intensity and its impact on daily life). The association between the impact of dental pain and the covariates was tested using multinomial logistic regression.

RESULTS:

The global prevalence of dental pain was 14.8% (95% CI, 12.9-16.7). Adjusted analysis showed that women, those who self-classified as dark-skinned Blacks, those with low family income, current smokers and those with common mental disorders reported a higher impact of dental pain than their counterparts. Among subjects reporting dental pain, 12.7% indicated the maximum intensity, whereas 6.0% had some daily activity disrupted by it, such as difficulties in chewing certain foods (38.0%), sleep disturbance (21.0%), difficulty to work (21.0%) and difficulty in performing household tasks (8.0%). Prevalence ratios of impact of dental pain between the poorest income group and richest income group (2.4), between the highest and lowest schooling group (2.6), and between dark-skinned Blacks and Whites (2.1) were of higher magnitude than the dental pain prevalence ratios among the same groups (1.7, 1.3 and 1.4, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

The impact of dental pain showed a social gradient. Inequalities between socio-economic groups found in this study should be taken into account, as the impact of dental pain leads to reduced daily activities and poor quality of life.

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