APH 2000, 58, 23-36:

On dental health in Belgian population approaching the 21st century.

J.P. Van Nieuwenhuysen, and J.C. Carvalho

Keywords: dental caries, epidemiology, child, adult, industrialised country, public health

The present review describes the evolution of dental health in the Belgian population in the last 30 years, comparing it to other West European countries. Moreover, this, paper reports on the Belgian achievements regarding the oral health goals established by the WHO for the year 2000. The studies carried out in the individual regions of Wallonia, Brussels and Flanders and in some municipalities, give a general idea about dental health in the country. In the last decade, dental health in Belgian children and adofescents has improved markedly. However, a specific health policy is required for risk groups such as socio-economically underprivileged, disabled and immigrant children. Belgium may be placed among other European countries which show from moderate to low caries prevalence in schoolchildren population. The objective of the WHO for 12-yr-old children has been achieved. Further investigation in young adults and adults are required. The lack of representative data for the whole country suggests that the implementation of a data base system for monitoring the evolution of dental health in Belgium, would be useful.