Objectives: The purpose of our study was to investigate the association of different socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors with dental caries in six-year-old children. Furthermore, we applied a district based approach to explore the distribution of dental caries among districts of low and high socioeconomic position (SEP). Methods: In our cross-sectional study 5189 six-year-olds were included. This study was embedded in a prospective population-based birth cohort study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the Generation R Study. Parental education level, parental employment status, net household income, single parenting, and teenage pregnancy were considered as indicators for SEP. Dental caries was scored on intraoral photographs by using the decayed, missing, and filled teeth (dmft) index. We compared children without caries (dmft = 0) to children with mild caries (dmft = 1-3) or severe caries (dmft >. 3). Multinomial logistic regression analyses and binary logistic regression analyses were performed to study the association between SEP and caries, and between district and caries, respectively. Results: Only maternal education level remained significantly associated with mild caries after adjusting for all other SEP-indicators. Paternal educational level, parental employment status, and household income additionally served as independent indicators of SEP in children with severe caries. Furthermore, living in more disadvantaged districts was significantly associated with higher odds of dental caries. Conclusion: Dental caries is more prevalent among six-year-old children with a low SEP, which is also visible at the district level. Maternal educational level is the most important indicator of SEP in the association with caries. Clinical significance: Our results should raise concerns about the existing social inequalities in dental caries and should encourage development of dental caries prevention strategies. New knowledge about the distribution of oral health inequalities between districts should be used to target the right audience for these strategies.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cross-sectional analysis, Dental caries, Epidemiology, Ethnicity, Pediatric dentistry, Socio-economic status
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2017.04.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/99927
Journal Journal of Dentistry
Citation
van der Tas, J.T, Kragt, L, Elfrink, M.E.C, Bertens, L.C.M, Jaddoe, V.W.V, Moll, H.A, … Wolvius, E.B. (2017). Social inequalities and dental caries in six-year-old children from the Netherlands. Journal of Dentistry, 62, 18–24. doi:10.1016/j.jdent.2017.04.008