Introduction The demographic and epidemiological transitions are causing changes in the health profile worldwide. Among the various areas of healthcare, oral health expressed is in a precarious situation. The objective was to identify the individual and contextual factors associated with tooth-loss in the elderly in Brazil.
Methods Analyses were based on the 2003 cross-sectional national epidemiological survey of the oral health of the Brazilian population, which covered 5349 individuals (age 65–74 years). Multistage cluster sampling was used. The dependent variable was functional edentulism and the need for total prosthesis. Independent variables were classified according to the individual or contextual level. A multilevel Poisson regression model was adopted.
Results Two analyses were carried out. In the first, living in rural areas and being female were associated with functional edentulism. In the second analysis, the contextual variables associated with reduced need for total prosthesis were: greater coverage of the first dental consult program (at regional level), average number of years of schooling (at state level) and population size. Living in rural areas, a greater number of individuals per room, having had the last dental consultation in the public sector, being male, non-white and of greater age were associated with the need for total prosthesis.
Conclusion The study revealed the key contextual and individual aspects associated with greater tooth-loss. The knowledge of the need for total prosthesis will be able to guide the work of those working in the area of Epidemiology of Oral Health.
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