Indexed on: 16 Aug '14Published on: 16 Aug '14Published in: International Dental Journal
To determine whether there is a relationship between the use of dental services and caries experience in adults and older adults from central Chile.A sample of 453 adults, 35-44 years of age, and 438 older adults, 65-74 years of age, was interviewed and examined using World Health Organisation (WHO) methods. Sociodemographic variables were also registered. Caries experience was assessed using the Decayed, Missing and Filled teeth (DMFT) index. Multiple linear regression models were used to determine whether there was an association between the independent variables and caries experience.Caries prevalence was 99.6% for adults [DMFT score = 14.89 (±6.16)] and 99.8% for older adults [DMFT score = 25.68 (±6.49)]. Less than half of the population - 41.7% of adults and 31.5% of older adults - received dental care. Regardless of the age group, there were no differences in the DMFT score between those who received and those who did not receive attention (P > 0.05). When the DMFT findings were analysed in greater detail, people who received dental care and urban participants had more fillings (P < 0.05) than did those who were not provided with attention or lived in rural areas, who, in turn, had more missing teeth (P < 0.05). A higher educational level was associated with a decrease of 1.15 DMFT points (P = 0.003) in the group of older adults.Adults and older adults from the Maule Region showed severe dental damage from caries. Although rurality and use of services do not seem to affect caries experience, they are associated with differences in fillings and missing teeth.