CIESAL researcher defended her doctoral thesis in Dental Sciences at the Universidad de Chile


On 7th December, our researcher Marjorie Borgeat Meza defended her thesis entitled “Analysis of social inequality in cavities and tooth loss in adults in Chile.” The thesis was developed as part of her doctoral programme in Dental Sciences at the Universidad de Chile.

Her research used data from the 2003 and 2016-2017 National Health Surveys, which have nationwide coverage. For the period under investigation, the main results of the study show a decrease in disparity in cavities and use of dental services in the last year with regard to educational level. However, an increase in disparity in dental loss was observed, mainly affecting women. A decomposition analysis of the disparity in tooth loss by sex was also carried out, which showed that the best explanation of the disparity in the number of remaining teeth for men and women was given by the WHO model for structural determinants of health.

These results show the relevance of social determinants in the oral health of adults in this country, especially education level and type of work, and the way in which the oral health of men and women is affected by differences in these determinants. The gender gaps observed in this country with regard to employability and income, and the variables associated with lower participation in the working sphere, such as the social role that identifies women as being responsible for domestic chores as well as being the main caregivers, have an impact on oral health and dental conservation.

Continued measurement of inequality and identification of those who are most vulnerable is relevant for the formulation of public policies aimed at reducing inequality in health. Consequently, this doctoral thesis marks the beginning of a line of research that seeks to provide evidence on disparities in oral health for decision makers and health authorities, and to improve current policies and programmes geared towards improving the oral health of the population.

Marjorie Borgeat Meza trained as a dental surgeon at the Universidad de Valparaíso. She practices as a dentist at the Quebrada Verde Family Health Centre (Cesfam) and is an adjunct professor at the Universidad de Valparaíso’s School of Dentistry. She holds a Master’s degree in Bioethics from the Universidad de Chile and is a full member of the Universidad de Valparaíso’s Ethical-Scientific Committee.