Objective: To test the relationship between socioeconomic position (SEP), family composition, number of siblings, and birth position in the family, and the utilization of oral health services by senior secondary school pupils in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design included senior secondary school pupils in the Central Local Government Area of Ile-Ife during 2007/2008. Sample size calculation was performed and 1,200 pupils were invited to participate. A multistage, stratified sampling technique was used. Data collection included a self-administered questionnaire. Data were analyzed using logistic regression.
Results: The response rate was 76 percent (n = 1043). The mean age was 15.8 (standard deviation = 1.9) and 49 percent were males. Only 22.5 percent of pupils had ever visited a dentist in their lives. Results from multivariate analyses showed that pupils attending free schools, those paying 1 to 10,000 naira (equivalent to US$ 63.31) and 10,000 to 19,000 naira (equivalent to US$ 120.29) were respectively 1.93, 1.87, and 2.74 times less likely to have attended a dentist in the past than pupils in more expensive schools. Pupils living with single mothers or without a parent were unlikely to have visited the dentist. Number of siblings and birth position in the family were not associated with utilization of oral health services.
Conclusions: Adolescents from families with a low SEP growing up without their parents may need extra incentives to visit dentist.