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Influence of social inequalities on dental caries and oral health related quality of life during the transition from childhood to adolescence: a 10-year cohort study

Grant number: 21/10537-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 21, 2022
Effective date (End): April 20, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Dentistry - Pediatric Dentistry
Principal Investigator:Fausto Medeiros Mendes
Grantee:Bruna Brondani
Supervisor: Mario Brondani
Host Institution: Faculdade de Odontologia (FO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of British Columbia, Vancouver (UBC), Canada  
Associated to the scholarship:19/27593-8 - Risk factors associated to the caries lesions progression in primary teeth and to caries incidence in permanent teeth in the childhood to adolescence transition: a 10-year cohort study, BP.DR


Oral health status reflects the accumulation of experiences and complex interactions between social and biological factors throughout life. Social inequalities are commonly seen in oral health and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) among different age groups. However, to our knowledge, no study has evaluated the impact of social inequalities in dental caries and OHRQoL in different periods of adolescence over a long period of time. Thus, the objectives of this project are to: (1) evaluate the influence of social inequalities in different periods of childhood on incidence of dental caries after 10 years of follow-up; and (2) measure the impact of socioeconomic disparities on the OHRQoL of children and adolescents over the 10-year period. The data collection was conducted in Santa Maria, southern Brazil, using a sample corresponding to a prospective cohort started in 2010. In that year, 639 children aged 1 to 5 years were systematically selected and included in the study. These children were re-evaluated after 2, 7, and 10 years. In the 4 evaluation phases, the schoolchildren were clinically examined for dental caries using the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS) index, and their parents/guardians answered a structured questionnaire with information about socioeconomic, behavioral, psychosocial, and contextual characteristics. The OHRQoL of the participants was measured through the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (ECOHIS), Child Perceptions Questionnaire 8-10 (CPQ8-10), and 11-14 (CPQ11-14), according to the age group. The outcomes will be the incidence of dental caries and the OHRQoL after 10 years of follow-up. The explanatory variables related to the social inequalities (individual and contextual factors) observed in the sample will be considered. Structural equation modeling (SEM) will be used to estimate the direct and indirect effects between social inequalities, oral health, and OHRQoL over 10 years. Cluster analysis will be performed to identify schools with similar social and environmental aspects and their students' caries experience. This project was approved by the Research Ethics Committee (CEP) of the Federal University of Santa Maria (protocol CAAE 11765419.1.0000.5346). This study can contribute to inform and shape health policies, impact practices, and influence the current public health care system. (AU)

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