Oral Health of Children and Adolescents Still Reflects Disparities
Oral and Dental Health
Researchers from eight countries reported today that, while some progress has been made in improving the oral health of children and adolescents, much remains to be done. Presenting their findings during the 84th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, research teams found that:
- Targeted health promotion and increased access to dental services are needed to improve the oral health of adolescents in juvenile detention. (Australia).
- A study at the Shanghai Children's Medical Center raised awareness of early childhood caries, the prevalence of which is extremely high. (China).
- The health system, oral health services, and socio-cultural and environmental risk factors (e.g., the use of alcohol and tobacco products) did modify, to some extent, the effects of risk factors such as infrequent use of oral health services, and unhealthy habits, in teenagers. (Finland).
- A pilot questionnaire, the Adolescent Enamel Fluorosis Quality of Life Questionnaire, indicated the aesthetic impact of enamel fluorosis in 15-year-olds, and its impact on their oral-health-related quality of life. (Ireland)
- There are significant differences among geographical regions in terms of caries prevalence in deciduous teeth, and the factors associated with dental caries prevalence. (Japan).
- Schoolchildren in a school-based oral health program showed lower levels of caries, but not all parents enrolled their children in the program. (Kuwait).
- Prolonged dental health benefits were found for children who were part of a school-based toothbrushing program, and these findings were influential in developing government policy about national caries-preventive programs. (Scotland).
- The high prevalence and severity of dental caries among 2- to 4-year-old children in a non-fluoridated region indicated that a comprehensive program that includes parental education about, and access to, oral health promotion, prevention and treatment services is urgently needed. Laypersons may help provide dental education, including feeding practice information, to parents and caregivers. Further, because milk-feeding and dietary practices differ between Buddhist and Muslim communities, information and educational materials need to be tailored accordingly. (Thailand).