A systematic review of socioeconomic indicators and dental caries in adults

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Increasing evidence suggests that socioeconomic factors may be associated with an increased risk of dental caries. To provide better evidence of the association between dental caries in adults and socioeconomic indicators, we evaluated the relation between these two conditions in a thorough review of the literature. Seven databases were systematically searched: Pubmed, Cochrane, Web of Science, Bireme, Controlled Trials, Clinical Trials and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. No restrictions were placed on the language or year of publication. The search yielded 41 studies for systematic review. Two independent reviewers screened the studies for inclusion, extracted data and evaluated quality using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. The following socioeconomic indicators were found: educational level, income, occupation, socio-economic status and the community index. These indicators were significantly associated with a greater occurrence of dental caries: the subject's education, subject's income, subject's occupation and the Gini coefficient. A high degree of heterogeneity was found among the methods. Quality varied across studies. The criteria employed for socioeconomic indicators and dental caries should be standardized in future studies. The scientific evidence reveals that educational level, income, occupation and the Gini coefficient are associated with dental caries.

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Costa, S. M., Martins, C. C., Bonfim, M. de L. C., Zina, L. G., Paiva, S. M., Pordeus, I. A., & Abreu, M. H. N. G. (2012). A systematic review of socioeconomic indicators and dental caries in adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9(10), 3540–3574. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph9103540

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