Factors influencing the use of dental health services by preschool children in Mexico

Carlo E. Medina-Solís, Gerardo Maupomé, Leticia Ávila-Burgos, Martha Hijar-Medina, América Segovia-Villanueva, Ricardo Pérez-Núñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the factors associated with dental health services utilization (DHSU) within a publicly funded oral health program for preschool children in Campeche, México. Methods: A cross-sectional study in 1,303 preschoolers (3 to 6 years old) enrolled in 10 public schools was conducted. The independent variables were: (1) sex; (2) age; (3) tooth-brushing frequency; (4) caries severity; (5) enamel defects; (6) mother's maximum education level; (7) mother's attitude toward oral health; (8) health services availability; and (9) family's socioeconomic status. The mothers completed a questionnaire, and their children were clinically examined. The DHSU (none vs any) in the previous 12 months was the dependent variable. Data were analyzed using binary logistic regression (BLR). ' Results: Average age was 4.3±0.8 years, and 52% of participants were boys. The prevalence of DHSU any was 31%. The variables associated with DHSU were: (1) moderate and high oral health needs; (2) access to private health services; and (3) older age. The authors' model supported an interaction between tooth-brushing frequency and the importance that the mother ascribed to her child's oral health. Conclusions: A low prevalence of DHSU was observed. The source of health services and oral health needs determined DHSU in this population, with some attitudes and behaviours modifying utilization. These findings have implications for designing oral health care policies to improve the supply of services to children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric dentistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Dental serv̀ices utilization
  • Logistic regression model
  • Mexico
  • Preschoolers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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