The impact of the cost of oral hygiene products on the domestic budget in the urban region of a midsize Brazilian capital city

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of the cost of oral hygiene products in Teresina, Piauí, on the Brazilian minimum salary (MS) over the period of two years. METHODS: The writer of this study visited 12 businesses from five geographical areas of the city during four consecutive months in 2011 and 2013 to collect the prices of toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and mouth rinse solutions of different brands. The prices were used to calculate the monthly expense that one individual would have if they consumed the ideal quantity of the products, as recommended by the dental literature. Brazil's MS at the time of the study was used as a parameter to calculate the impact of the cost of the items on the family budget. RESULTS: The mean monthly cost per individual was R$ 17.93 in 2011 (2.88% of the MS) and R$ 24.92 in 2013 (3.67% of the MS). There was an increase of 38.9 % in the mean price of products and the impact on the MS increased by 27.43 % during the study period. CONCLUSION: The impact of the cost of the oral care items was high on the Brazilian MS for the studied region. Dentists should be aware that the cost of these products can be an obstacle for their patients.