Background: While inequalities in oral health are generally well-documented, it is less clear whether such patterns are evident from early childhood. Using four measures of potential inequality, this study examines patterns in oral health for Australian children at ages 2-3 and 6-7 years. Methods: Cross-sectional data from two cohorts of children in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were used to explore associations between reported oral health and four indicators of social disadvantage: socioeconomic position (SEP), residential remoteness, Indigenous status and non-English speaking background. Results: For both cohorts, lower SEP and Indigenous status were associated with higher odds of poor oral health on all three indicators, and less accessible location was associated with increased odds for caries. Non-English speaking background was associated with increased odds for caries experience in 2-3 year olds and non-use of dental services in the older cohort. Inequalities were larger in the older cohort for socioeconomic position and toothbrushing. Conclusions: Marked social disparities in oral health appear as early as two years of age and remain evident in school-age children. Interventions to reduce such disparities should start as early as possible.
|Translated title of the contribution||Oral health inequalities in a national sample of Australian children aged 2-3 and 6-7 years|
|Pages (from-to)||38 - 44|
|Journal||Australian Dental Journal|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2012|