Title: 3470 - Indigenous Oral Health Inequalities Begin in Childhood: A Multi-country Study


Dandara Haag (Presenter)
University of Adelaide

Helena Schuch, The University of Adelaide
W. Murray Thomson, University of Otago
Loc Do, The University of Adelaide
Marco Peres, Griffith University
Lisa Jamieson, The University of Adelaide


Objectives: There is limited documentation on the magnitude of oral health inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across a range of countries and comparable oral health indicators that focus specifically on children. The objective of this study was to compare relative oral health inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and adolescents aged 5 to 15 years-old from Brazil, New Zealand and Australia.

Methods: Data were from the most recent nationally representative oral health surveys in Brazil (n=16,139), New Zealand (n=1,201) and Australia (n=24,591). Gingival inflammation, dental caries experience, untreated decayed teeth, missing and filled teeth were assessed in the primary and permanent dentitions. Parent-reported child oral health was also evaluated. Prevalence Ratios (PR 95%CI) were estimated using Poisson regressions, adjusting for potential confounders. Multiple Imputation was adopted to handle missing data.

Results: Irrespective of country, Indigenous children had worse oral health than their non-Indigenous counterparts in all indicators. The magnitude of these differences was greatest in Australia for the proportion with dental caries experience, untreated decay or gingival inflammation. Indigenous Australian children had, after adjustment, 1.4 times the prevalence of dmft/DMFT>0 (95% CI 1.3, 1.5), 1.6 times the prevalence of dt/DT>0 (95% CI 1.4, 1.7) and 1.5 times the prevalence of gingival inflammation (95% CI 1.4, 1.7) of non-Indigenous Australian children. For missing teeth, filled teeth and poor parent-reported child oral health, the magnitude of inequality was greatest among Brazilian children, with Indigenous children having 3.2 times the prevalence of mt/MT>0 (95% CI 1.3, 7.7), 1.5 times the prevalence of ft/FT>0 (95%CI 0.8; 2.7) and 1.7 times the prevalence of fair/poor oral health (95% CI 0.9; 3.2) of non-Indigenous children.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that Indigenous and non-Indigenous oral health inequalities begin in childhood, and reinforce the need for equity in social and economic policies, along with culturally appropriate and early oral health interventions.

This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source:
BRAZIL: General Coordination of Oral Health/Brazilian Ministry of Health Centro Colaborador do Ministério da Saúde em Vigilância da Saúde Bucal NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand's Ministry of Health Oral Health Research Fund. AUSTRALIA: Australian Government health agencies National Health and Medical Research Council. Grant Numbers: #299060, #349514, #349537, #627100

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: NONE