Time trends in socio-economic inequalities in the lack of access to dental services among children in Spain 1987-2011

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Introduction: Adult oral health is predicted by oral health in childhood. Prevention improves oral health in childhood and, consequently in adulthood, so substantial cost savings can be derived from prevention. The burden of oral disease is particularly high for disadvantaged and poor population groups in both developing and developed countries. Therefore, an appropriate and egalitarian access to dental care becomes a desirable objective if children's dental health is to be promoted irrespective of socioeconomic status. The aim of this research is to analyse inequalities in the lack of access to dental care services for children in the Spanish National Health System by socio-economic group over the period 1987-2011. Methods: Pooled data from eight editions of the Spanish National Health Survey for the years 1987-2011, as well as contextual data on state dental programmes are used. Logistic regressions are used to examine the related factors to the probability of not having ever visited the dentist among children between 6 and 14 years old. Our lack of access variable pays particular attention to the socioeconomic level of children's household. Results: The mean probability of having never been to the dentist falls considerably from 49.5% in 1987 to 8.4% in 2011. Analysis by socioeconomic level indicates that, in 1987, the probability of not having ever gone to the dentist is more than two times higher for children in the unskilled manual social class than for those in the upper non-manual social class (odds ratio 2.35). And this difference is not reduced significantly throughout the period analysed, rather it increases as in 1993 (odds of 2.39) and 2006 (odds of 3.03) to end in 2011 slightly below than in 1987 (odds ratio 1.80). Conclusion: There has been a reduction in children's lack of access to dentists in Spain over the period 1987-2011. However, this reduction has not corrected the socioeconomic inequalities in children's access to dentists in Spain.




Pinilla, J., Negrín-Hernández, M. A., & Abásolo, I. (2015). Time trends in socio-economic inequalities in the lack of access to dental services among children in Spain 1987-2011. International Journal for Equity in Health. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-015-0132-8

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