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Keywords:

  • children;
  • dental care;
  • mothers;
  • sense of coherence

da Silva AN, Mendonça MH, Vettore MV. The association between low-socioeconomic status mother’s Sense of Coherence and their child’s utilization of dental care. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2011; 39: 115–126. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Abstract –  Objectives:  The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship of low-socioeconomic status mother’s Sense of Coherence (SOC) and their child’s utilization of dental care services in a city of Southeast Brazil.

Methods:  A cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of 190 schoolchildren aged 11–12  and their mothers in Sao João de Meriti-RJ, Southeast Brazil. The outcome variables were children’s use of dental care services and visiting dentists mainly for check-ups. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and data regarding children’s dental care use were collected through interviews with mothers. Children’s oral health-related behaviours as well as dental status (DMFS index), dental pain, Visible Dental Plaque and Bleeding on Probing Index were registered. Mother’s SOC was assessed through the validated short version (13-item) of Antonovsky’s scale. Multiple logistic regression was used in the data analysis.

Results:  Of the mothers, 81.1% reported on their child’s utilization of dental care services. Of them, 42.9% considered check-ups as the main reason for taking their children to dental services. Children whose mothers had higher levels of SOC were more likely to utilize dental care services (OR = 2.08 95%CI = 1.17–3.64) and visit a dentist mainly for check-ups (except for dental treatment) (OR = 2.02 95%CI = 1.06–3.81) than those whose mothers had lower levels of SOC. These findings were adjusted for socioeconomic status, children’s oral health-related behaviours and oral health measures.

Conclusions:  Mother’s SOC was a psychosocial factor associated with their child’s pattern of use of dental care services in low-socioeconomic status families.