APH 2006, 64, 251-267:
Impact of oral health behaviour and socio-economic characteristics
on dental health in a cohort of Flemish and Scottish children.
D. Declerck, CM. Pine, J. Vanobbergen, L. Martens, G. Burnside
Keywords: child, dental health survey, DMF index, social conditions
Objective: The aim of this study was to compare dental health in
children from two provincial cities in Scotland and Flanders (Belgium),
and to investigate the contribution of reported health behaviour and
socio-demographic characteristics as explanatory variables.
Methods: Two cohorts consisting of 152 children from Dundee,
Scotland and 261 children from Ghent, Flanders (Belgium) were
examined at age 7 and again at age 10. Examinations for dental caries
experience and oral cleanliness were undertaken to the same diagnostic
criteria. Parents (or guardians) in both cities completed structured questionnaires with the same questions to obtain information on family
background and oral health behaviour.
Results: There was a significant difference in the proportion of
children with no caries experience in deciduous teeth at age 7, with 46%
in Ghent, compared with 22% in Dundee. There was a marked difference
in the numbers of extracted teeth, with children in Dundee having a
mean of 1.82 extracted teeth compared to 0.08 in Ghent. This trend
continued in the permanent teeth at age 10. Children in Ghent had
significantly better oral cleanliness than their counterparts in Dundee
despite Dundee children having better reported oral hygiene habits.
In both communities, the most important explanatory factor for an
increase in DMFT between 7 and 10 was deciduous caries experience
at age 7.
Conclusions: In both communities, deciduous caries experience
remains the most important explanatory variable of caries in permanent
teeth, although enhanced cleanliness and use of fluoride either in toothpaste
or as supplements, are key moderators of risk.