Persistent socioeconomic inequality in child dental caries in England despite equal attendance

Vahid Ravaghi, D.S. Hargreaves, John Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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INTRODUCTION: Despite a decline in the prevalence of dental caries among children in England and ongoing arrangements for the provision of free dental care up to the age of 18 y, there is limited information on the pattern and trend of socioeconomic inequalities in dental caries and dental attendance.

METHODS: We estimated the magnitude of deprivation-related inequalities for dental caries and dental attendance in young children, using publicly available data and 2 regression-based summary measures of inequalities: slope index of inequality and relative index of inequality.

RESULTS: We found no significant absolute or relative inequalities in dental attendance across English areas in the past decade, while there were persistent absolute and relative inequalities in dental caries. Socioeconomic inequalities in dental caries decreased between 2007 and 2012; thereafter, the relative inequalities increased.

CONCLUSIONS: The apparent widening inequality in child dental caries in England despite equal access to dental care is a challenge for policy makers.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER STATEMENT: While caries prevalence among English children has declined over the past decade, there has been an increase in socioeconomic inequalities in oral health despite there being no inequality in dental attendance. This has implications for the development of oral health strategy and planning dental services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalJDR Clinical & Translational Research
Issue number2
Early online date5 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • socioeconomic factors
  • health care disparity
  • tooth
  • dental care for children
  • dental health services
  • dental health surveys


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