Dental health among children

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Dental problems, mostly in the form of caries (tooth decay) and gum disease, are common in developed countries, affecting 60‐90% of school children and the vast majority of adults (WHO, 2003). People with poor oral health may experience pain and discomfort, functional impairment, low self‐esteem and dissatisfaction with their appearance. Dental and other oral diseases thus represent a major public health problem. Dental diseases are highly related to lifestyle factors, which include a high sugar diet, while also reflecting whether or not protective measures such as exposure to fluoride and good oral hygiene are present. Much of the burden of dental disease falls on disadvantaged and socially marginalised populations (WHO, 2003), and children are especially vulnerable. Treatment of dental disease in developed countries is often costly, although many countries offer free or subsidised dental care for children and adolescents (see also Indicator 6.6 "Inequalities in dentist consultations").

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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