Association between socioeconomic factors and the choice of dentifrice and fluoride intake by children

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Nov;8(11):4284-99. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8114284. Epub 2011 Nov 10.


It is questionable whether socioeconomic factors influence the choice of marketed children's dentifrices and whether these products are associated with greater fluoride (F) intake in children. The present cross-sectional study involving 197 children (mean age: 40.98 ± 6.62 months) was carried out in Montes Claros, Brazil. Parents completed a questionnaire on socioeconomic status and the tooth brushing habits of their children. The children brushed their teeth and saliva residues were collected for F analysis. F intake from dentifrice was determined with an ion-specific electrode. Univariate analysis and logistic regression were used to test whether the type of dentifrice (children's or family) and F dose (<0.05 and ≥0.05 mg F/Kg of body weight/day) were associated with the independent variables (p < 0.05). No differences were found between children's and family dentifrices regarding daily F intake (0.046 and 0.040 mg F/Kg/day, respectively; p = 0.513). The following were strong predictors for the use of a children's dentifrice: studying at a private kindergarten (OR: 6.89; p < 0.001); age that the child begun to tooth brush <2 years (OR: 2.93; p = 0.041), and the interaction between the variables "use of the same dentifrice as parents" and "type of tooth brush used" (OR: 27.20; p < 0.001). "The amount of dentifrice used" and "frequency of tooth brushing" (p ≤ 0.004) had a statistically and synergistic effect over the daily F dose. The present study found a social influence over the choice of dentifrice: children with a high socioeconomic status tend to use a children's dentifrice. The amount of dentifrice used can strongly increase the risk of exposure to higher doses of F, regardless of the type of dentifrice.

Keywords: children; dental fluorosis; dentifrice; fluoride; socioeconomic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Cariostatic Agents / analysis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Devices, Home Care
  • Dentifrices / chemistry*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fluorides / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Toothbrushing / instrumentation
  • Toothbrushing / methods
  • Toothbrushing / statistics & numerical data*


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Dentifrices
  • Fluorides