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Keywords:

  • dental caries;
  • dietary habits;
  • occupational health;
  • multivariate analysis

Abstract

Objectives: Environmental hazards contribute to the poor oral health in many occupations. Among the earliest occupations mentioned are those of the baker and confectionery worker. To determine appropriate ways of promoting oral health in places of work, factors affecting caries susceptibility were studied. Methods: Dental caries status, dietary and dental health behaviors, and salivary microbiologic findings in 338 confectionery and 101 shipyard workers were compared. A caries risk index based on salivary findings was used in log-linear models where the effects of sex, diet, use of dental services, and work environment were studied. Results: Caries experience was found to be high in both populations. Dietary habits were the most important factor affecting caries occurrence and susceptibility. Similar dietary behaviors were found in both groups. Conclusions: The confectionery industry did not seem to be an exceptionally hazardous environment for dental health in general. However, the screening of high-risk workers should be organized. Reimbursement of costs had no major effect on use of dental services or caries risk. Oral health promotion should be integrated with existing occupational health services to improve oral health in industrial populations.