Objectives: The primary objectives are to assess socioeconomic inequality in the use of dental care among older Brazilian adults and to analyse the extent to which certain determinants contribute to that inequality. Methods: A cross-sectional study using data from the National Oral Health Survey conducted in 2010. All individuals answered a structured questionnaire containing questions on their use of dental care and socioeconomic conditions and underwent a clinical oral examination by a dentist. Concentration indices were decomposed to determine the contribution of socioeconomic factors to inequalities. Results: Being in the fifth wealth, quintile was associated with higher odds of having recently visited a dentist (reference: 1st quintile, odds-ratio (OR) 2.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.51-3.38). In addition, being in the top two quintiles of wealth was negatively associated with the use of public dental services. Having eight or more years of schooling was associated with higher odds of both having a recent dental visit and receiving preventive care (relative to having 0-3 years of education), and negatively associated with using public dental services. Results indicate pro-rich inequalities in recent dental visits and preventive dental care. Further, there was a pro-poor inequality in the use of public dental care services. Conclusions: The recent use of dental care and the use of preventive care are disproportionately concentrated among wealthier older adults, whereas the use of public services is more common among poorer individuals. Wealth inequalities in dental care use were mainly explained by socioeconomic factors, such as wealth and education, rather than oral health factors, such as needing treatment or a dental prosthesis.
- dental care
- older adults
- oral health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health