Dental healthcare costs of children living in Amsterdam and associated socio-demographic characteristics

T. S. van Ligten*, D. Schmitz, C. M. C. Volgenant, R. Donken, G. M. J. G. van der Heijden, D. Duijster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess associations between socio-demographic characteristics and dental costs of children living in Amsterdam. Having incurred dental costs was an indicator for having visited the dentist. Having incurred low or high dental costs may indicate the type of dental care provided (periodic examination, preventive care or restorative treatment). Methods: This study followed a cross-sectional, observational design. The research population contained all children up until 17 years living in Amsterdam in 2016. Dental costs from all Dutch healthcare insurance companies were obtained via Vektis, and socio-demographic data were obtained from Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The study population was stratified into age groups: 0–4 and 5–17 years. Dental costs were classified as no dental costs (0 euros), low dental costs (>0 to <100 euros) or high dental costs (≥100 euros). Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to study the distribution of dental costs and associations with socio-demographic child and parent variables. Results: In the population of 142 289 children, 44 887 (31.5%) incurred no dental costs, 32 463 (22.8%) incurred low dental costs and 64 939 (45.6%) incurred high dental costs. Among children of 0–4 years, a much larger proportion (70.2%) incurred no dental costs, compared to those of 5–17 years (15.8%). In both age groups, migration background (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) range 1.23–1.98), low(er) household income (aOR range 0.45–0.93), low(er) parental educational level (aOR range 0.51–0.87) and living in a single-parent household (aOR range 0.89–0.91) were strongly associated with incurring high (vs. low) dental costs. Furthermore, in 5-17-year-old children, a lower level of secondary or vocational education (aOR range 1.12–1.17) and living in households receiving social benefits (aOR 1.23) were associated with incurring high dental costs. Conclusions: Among children living in Amsterdam in 2016, one in three children did not visit a dentist. For children that did visit a dentist, those with a migration background, low parental educational level and from a low household income were more likely to incur high dental costs, which could be indicative for additional restorative treatment. Hence, patterns of oral healthcare consumption, specified by type of dental care over time, and their association with oral health status, are targets for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-546
Number of pages12
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number3
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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