To investigate gender differences in tooth loss among Chilean adolescents and its association with selected socio-economic indicators and oral-health-related behaviors.
Data on 9,163 Chilean adolescents obtained using multistage random cluster procedures. Clinical recordings included information on missing teeth and the participants provided information on socio-demographic factors and oral-related behaviors. Two eruption-time-adjusted logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the associations between gender, tooth loss and socio-economic position/oral-health-related behaviors.
The association between gender and tooth loss remained after adjusting for age, eruption times in both the socio-economic position regression model and the oral-health-related behaviors model. Tooth loss followed social gradients for the variables paternal income and achieved parental education, with students reporting a paternal income < 100,000 US dollars (OR = 2.0), and having a father (OR = 1.8) and a mother (OR = 2.0) who achieved only primary school education being more likely to experience tooth loss. The adjusted regression model for behavioral indicators revealed that students who reported brushing their teeth once a day (OR = 1.6) were more likely to have experienced tooth loss than those who reported more frequent toothbrushing. Students who visited a dentist rarely (OR = 0.8) or never (OR = 0.5) were less likely to have lost first molars and/or incisors.
The results demonstrate that gender differences in tooth loss among young Chileans are related to socio-economic position; and selected oral-health-related behaviors after adjusting for eruption time variation.