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Cien Saude Colet. 2014 Jan;19(1):105-13. doi: 10.1590/1413-81232014191.2110.

Toothache and social and economic conditions among adolescents in Northeastern Brazil.


The scope of this study was to correlate toothache with social and economic conditions, access to oral health facilities and the lifestyle of adolescents in Sobral in the state of Ceará. It was conducted as a cross-sectional analytical study with a sample composed of 688 adolescents. The prevalence of toothache in the study group was 31.8%. A chi-square test of association was performed to measure the relationship between independent variables and toothache, estimating the prevalence ratio by Poisson regression. The factors that demonstrated the closest relationship with toothache were cavity severity, the reason for dental treatment being related to urgency, frequency of dental appointments and the distribution of toothbrushes at school. It was observed that the high prevalence of dental pain in adolescents is directly linked to the access conditions, as well as the characteristics of the actions developed by the health services. Just as there is a need for the deployment of services related to health promotion, based on equity and integration, it is necessary to introduce emergency services to intervene not just to curtail crippling pain, but also as a mechanism to stimulate the development of procedures for the prevention of oral diseases.

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