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Asia Pac J Public Health. 2016 Oct;28(7):620-628. doi: 10.1177/1010539516667783. Epub 2016 Sep 24.

The Association of Socioeconomic Status and Dental Caries Experience in Children in Dili, Timor-Leste.

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1 University of Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia.
2 Rural Clinical School, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia.
3 University of Adelaide, Australia.


Timor-Leste is one of the poorest countries in the world. The aim of this article was to investigate the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and dental caries experience in children living in Dili. Four out of 6 Dili subdistricts and 40 schools were randomly selected. Equal numbers of school children from 4 age groups (6-8, 9-11, 12-14, 15-17 years) were invited to participate. Data were gathered via a questionnaire and an oral examination by dental practitioners. In bivariate analysis, decayed, missing, and filled teeth index for deciduous + permanent teeth (dmft) was higher in children from mid- to high-SES than low-SES schools (1.1, 2.2, P = .001). With age, having had a toothache and dental visiting in the past 12 months in the multivariable model, higher dmft was found in children from mid- to high- to low-SES schools ( P < .001). The primary dental caries experience was greater among children from mid- to high- than low-SES schools, which may be explained by high sugar consumption.


child health; community dentistry/oral health; family medicine; health management; health promotion; inequalities in health; oral health care; population health; public health

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