Investigating the prevalence of non-fluoride toothpaste use in adults and children using nationally representative data from New Zealand: a cross-sectional study

Abstract

Introduction Despite improvements in oral health outcomes in New Zealand over the last number of decades, there are still high levels of preventable tooth decay in adults and children. We investigate the prevalence and spatial variation of non-fluoride toothpaste use in a nationally representative sample of adults and children in New Zealand.

Method Individual-level self-reported data were sourced from the New Zealand Health Survey (2017/18). Both child (n = 4,723) and adult (n = 13,869) data were used. Data included sociodemographic (for example, age), socioeconomic (for example, area-level deprivation) and dental-related (for example, type of toothpaste used) variables.

Results Overall, 6.8% of adults and 6.4% of children use non-fluoride toothpaste. When split by deprivation, the highest prevalence of non-fluoride toothpaste use for children and adults was in the moderate to least deprived areas, while the lowest prevalence was in the most deprived areas. When disaggregated by ethnicity, the Asian population had the highest prevalence of non-fluoride toothpaste use for both adults and children compared to Māori, Pacific and European/Other. There was little difference in prevalence by rural/urban classification; however, prevalence varied geographically across the study area.

Conclusion This is the first study that uses a nationally representative sample of adults and children to show variation in the use of non-fluoride toothpaste in New Zealand.

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Acknowledgements

This research was carried out as part of the GeoHealth Laboratory work programme at the University of Canterbury, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health. The authors thank the participants within the New Zealand Health Survey. Access to the data used in this study was provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Health under conditions designed to keep individual information confidential and secure in accordance with the requirements of the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 and the Privacy Act 1993. The New Zealand Health Survey was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

Funding

This research was carried out as part of the GeoHealth Laboratory work programme at the University of Canterbury, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

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M. Hobbs; Postdoctoral Researcher, GeoHealth Laboratory; conception and development of idea, data analysis, interpretation of results, editing of manuscript. L. Marek; Postdoctoral Researcher, GeoHealth Laboratory; editing of manuscript, data analysis advice. R. Clarke; National Clinical Director Oral Health, registered dentist; conception of idea and editing of the manuscript. J. McCarthy; Principal Technical Specialist - Geospatial, Ministry of Health; conception of idea and editing of the manuscript. M. Tomintz; Research Manager, GeoHealth Laboratory; editing of manuscript. A. Wade; registered dentist; conception of idea and editing of the manuscript. M. Campbell; Deputy Director, GeoHealth Laboratory; editing of manuscript. S. Kingham; Director, GeoHealth Laboratory; initial brainstorming for conception of idea and editing of manuscript.

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Correspondence to Matthew Hobbs.

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Hobbs, M., Marek, L., Clarke, R. et al. Investigating the prevalence of non-fluoride toothpaste use in adults and children using nationally representative data from New Zealand: a cross-sectional study. Br Dent J 228, 269–276 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-1304-5

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