Use of Dental Services Among Brazilian Children Aged Zero to Three Years: Analysis of National Household Surveys

Rafaella Coelho Freitas, Leila Posenato Garcia, Jéssica Copetti Barasuol, Débora Martini Dalpian, Bianca Zimmermann dos Santos


Objective: To describe the use of dental services among children aged zero to three years in Brazil according to socio-demographic characteristics. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out using data from the 1998, 2003 and 2008 Brazilian National Household Surveys involving a total of 25,769, 25,644 and 22,237 children, respectively. Prevalence rates and 99% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Results: : In 1998, 10.4% (99%CI: 9.7-11.1) of the children had been to the dentist. This figure was 13.4% (99%CI: 12.6-14.3) in 2003 and 16.2% (99%CI: 15.2-17.1) in 2008. In 2008, the prevalence rates of dental appointments in lifetime were respectively 10.2% (99%CI: 9.2-11.4) and 30.6% (99%CI: 27.7-33.6) for children in the lowest and highest income quartiles, 10.2% (99%CI: 8.9-11.7) and 22.4% (99%CI: 20.9-23.9) for children from families whose head of household had up to four and nine or more years of schooling, 9.6% (99%CI: 2.2-11.1) and 27.5% (99%CI: 24.5-30.8) for those living in the northeast and central west regions of the country. Conclusion: Statistically significant increases in the prevalence rates of the use of dental services among Brazilian children aged zero to three years occurred between 1998 and 2008. The rates were lower among children belonging to socially and ethnically disadvantaged groups.


Dental Care; Health Services Accessibility; Child.

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