Childhood dental caries in the UAE is high

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Childhood dental caries in the UAE is high

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The prevalence of dental caries is high among children in the UAE. (Photograph: Santiago Cornejo/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Wed. 16 July 2014

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AL-AIN, UAE: According to the World Health Organization, 60 to 90 per cent of schoolchildren worldwide have dental cavities. Tooth decay, which can have a significant impact on the general health and development of children, is also an area of concern in the United Arab Emirates. A recently published study has shown a high prevalence of decayed and filled primary teeth due to dental caries in children in the region.

The aim of the study was to provide policymakers with a comprehensive data summary, which will help in the planning for and evaluation of dental caries prevention programmes in the UAE. For this purpose, researchers at the United Arab Emirates University’s Institute of Public Health reviewed the current literature available on the epidemiology of dental caries in children under the age of 13. Overall, the review comprised 11 surveys of childhood caries in the UAE, the earliest of which was published in 1991 and the most recent in 2011.

According to the study, the number of decayed, missing and filled primary teeth in UAE children between the ages of 4 and 6 ranged from 5.1 to 8.4. In 12-year-olds, the number of decayed, missing and filled permanent teeth ranged from 1.6 to 3.24.

The findings indicate that childhood dental caries is still a serious dental public health problem in the UAE, the researchers concluded. Preventive primary oral health programmes should thus receive more attention from the government and policymakers to improve the oral health of children, they said.

The study, titled “Epidemiology of dental caries in children in the United Arab Emirates”, was published online on 27 May in the International Dental Journal.

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