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The oral health of seniors in Brazil: addressing the consequences of a historic lack of public health dentistry in an unequal society

Authors

  • Flamorion A. Fonesca,

    1. Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros (UNIMONTES), Montes Claros, Brazil
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  • Kimberly M. Jones,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medical Anthropology, Health Science Studies Graduate Program, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros (UNIMONTES), Montes Claros, Brazil
    2. Faculdades Integradas do Norte de Minas (FUNORTE), Montes Claros, Brazil
    • Correspondence to:

      Kimberly M. Jones, Coordenação de Pesquisa, Faculdades Integradas do Norte de Minas – FUNORTE, Avenida Osmani Barbosa - no. 11.111, Conjunto Residencial JK, Montes Claros, MG 39404-006, Brazil.

      Tel.: +55(38)2101-9288

      Fax: +55(38)2101-9275

      E-mail: kjonesanth@gmail.com

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  • Danilo C. Mendes,

    1. Health Science Studies Graduate Program, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros (UNIMONTES), Montes Claros, Brazil
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  • Pedro E. dos Santos Neto,

    1. Department of Dentistry, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros (UNIMONTES), Montes Claros, Brazil
    2. Department of Medicine, Faculdades Integradas do Norte de Minas (FUNORTE), Montes Claros, Brazil
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  • Raquel C. Ferreira,

    1. Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Montes Claros, Brazil
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  • Isabela A. Pordeus,

    1. Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Montes Claros, Brazil
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  • Andréa M.E. de Barros Lima Martins

    1. Faculdades Integradas do Norte de Minas (FUNORTE), Montes Claros, Brazil
    2. Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros (UNIMONTES), Montes Claros, Brazil
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Abstract

Objective

National epidemiological data on the oral health of elders was analysed to examine relationships between the need for oral treatment and external environment, the dental care delivery system, personal characteristics and subjective conditions of oral health.

Background

Brazil's universal public healthcare system is theoretically responsible to provide dental care to Brazilians of all ages. However, as dentists were integrated into public primary care facilities only in 2000, Brazilian seniors have accumulated needs.

Materials and methods

Seniors (65–74 years old) were examined and interviewed by calibrated professionals. The association of overall need for oral treatment and component factors were analysed. Associations with socio-demographic factors and self-reported attitudes and behaviours were also calculated.

Results

A total of 85.9% of Brazilian seniors demonstrated a need for some oral treatment, 83.8% of the dentate needed periodontal treatment and 57.3% of all seniors needed full or partial prostheses. Social inequalities were also evident as Brazilians using free oral care services demonstrated a higher degree of need, as did elders who had not previously accessed dental services, nonwhites and males.

Conclusions

Our findings demonstrate that the elderly population in Brazil has a very high degree of need in general and that certain subgroups have been especially vulnerable to oral disease.

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