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.