Background: The aim of this study is to examine the association between parental socioeconomic status (SES) and the experience as well as treatment of dental caries among children aged 9 to 18 years. Methods: Data from 1253 children aged 9-18 years from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2012-2013) were analyzed. Parental socioeconomic status was measured using household income level and maternal educational level. The decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) index was used to measure experience of dental caries (DMFT ≥ 1). Non-treatment of dental caries was measured according to whether the participants who experienced dental caries used a dental service at a dental clinic to treat caries during the previous year. Logistic regression was used to investigate the association between parental socioeconomic status and the experience of dental caries as well as the association between parental socioeconomic status and the non-treatment of dental caries among children that have experienced caries. Results: A total of 808 subjects (64.5 %) experienced dental caries among 1253 participants, and 582 of these 808 subjects (72.0 %) did not receive treatment among those having experience of dental caries. Parental socioeconomic status was not associated with experience of dental caries. However, those from low- and middle-income households were less likely to receive treatment than those from high-income households (odds ratio [OR] 2.11 [95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.16-3.86], OR 2.14 [95 % CI 1.27-3.62]). In particular, those from low- and middle-income households who had regular dental checkups were more likely to have untreated caries than those from high-income households (OR 3.58 [95 % CI 1.25-10.24]). Conclusions: This study demonstrates the parental household income-related disparities in children's dental health treatment. Efforts should be made to lower financial barriers to dental health services, particularly among those from low-income households, in order to reduce dental health disparities in the treatment of caries in children.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health