Abstract: Aim The aim of this study was to analyse the dmft/DMFT index in paediatric patients belonging to families with low income, in conditions of social vulnerability and absolute poverty and to compare it with a control group with a good socioeconomic status.
Materials and methods The study analysed a total sample of 160 patients with average age of 8.6±2.5. The sample was divided into two groups based on the Equivalent Economic Situation Indicator (ISEE). Group 1 consists of 80 patients with an ISEE value less than €6.000 and was examined at the “Solidarietà Vincenziana” Dental Centre – Rome (Italy), which is a centre dedicated to people with minimum income, destitute, elderly without resources, immigrant children; Group 2 consists of 80 patients with an ISEE value of more than €20.000 and was examined at the Pediatric Dentistry Unit, University of Rome Tor Vergata.Statistics: Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS for Windows version 21 (IBM SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). The statistical analysis included a descriptive evaluation of the results in a bivariate analysis. The association between the presence of caries and the background variables was evaluated with the chi-squared association or Fisher test. The minimum level of significance was fixed at P-value≤0.05.
Results Analysing the number of caries-free subjects and subjects with caries in reference to the age group between 5 and 12 years and the ISEE value, without distinction of sex, there is a statistically significant difference between Group 1 and Group 2, both in relation to the dmft (p=0.038, Chi-squared Test=4.28) and to the DMFT (p=0.001, Chi-squared Test=19.23). Subjects aged between 5 and 12 years had an average DMFT of 1.88 ± 0.83 (Group 1) and 0.95 ±0.54 (Group 2).
Conclusions The study highlights a positive relationship between ISEE value, of poor socio-economic situations (condition of absolute poverty, low economic income) and increase in the DMFT index. The oral health status is an indicator of poverty. For this reason it would be advisable to plan early preventive interventions, providing the possibility of appropriate and effective access for children in economic and social needs, whose quality of life can be further negatively affected by oral diseases.