APH 2006, 64, 217-229:

Caries prevalence in Belgian children: a review.

E. De Vos, J. Vanobbergen

Keywords: caries prevalence, children, Belgium

A review of epidemiological surveys on dental caries prevalence, published between 1980 and 2006 in Belgian children, was compiled through a literature search. The number of studies performed in Belgium to date still remains limited, although in recent years more data on caries prevalence have been published. Methodological differences and confounding factors, especially socio-demographic influences, limit national comparisons of caries prevalence data. Although exact comparisons are difficult, data suggest a decline in caries prevalence in 5-, 7- and 12-year-old Belgian schoolchildren in the last 26 years. In the primary dentition mean dmft1 values have decreased from 2.66 (1981) to 1.38 (1994) in 5-year-olds and from 4.1 (1983) to 2.24 (1996) in 7-year-olds. A recent 2003 study (1) showed a dmft of 0.83 amongst 2-3 year olds, 50% being cariesfree. In 12-year-olds DMFT values in the permanent dentition have decreased from 3.9 (1983) to 0.92 (2001). WHO goals for the year 2010 appear to have been almost reached in Flanders, with a recent estimate of 0.92 for DMFT in 12-yearolds and 56% of children being recorded as cariesfree at the age of 5. Continuing efforts are needed to screen the oral health of different age groups but standardised criteria and sampling procedures should be used if benefits are to be gained from national and international comparison. Data are often limited to small selected areas and information representing the entire community of Flanders or Wallonia would be of particular value.