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Oral health policies to tackle the burden of early childhood caries: a review of 14 countries/regions

Chen, Jieyi, Duangthip, Duangporn, Gao, Sherry Shiqian, Huang, Fang, Anthonappa, Robert, Oliveira, Branca Heloisa, Turton, Bathsheba, Durward, Callum, El Tantawi, Maha, Attia, Dina, Heima, Masahiro, Satta Muthu, Murugan, Ayu Maharani, Diah, Oluwatoyin Folayan, Morenik, Phantumavanit, Prathip, Sitthisettapong, Thanya, Innes, Nicola ORCID:, Crystal, Yasmi O, Ramos-Gomez, Francisco, Medina, Aida Carolina, Chin Man Lo, Edward and Hung Chu, Chun 2021. Oral health policies to tackle the burden of early childhood caries: a review of 14 countries/regions. Frontiers in Oral Health 2 , 670154. 10.3389/froh.2021.670154

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Aim: Early childhood caries (ECC) has significant public health implications but has received inadequate global attention. There is limited information regarding the success of oral health policies implemented to address the challenges of ECC. This review aimed to summarize such policies to tackle ECC from different countries/regions. Method: Independent collaborators from 14 countries/regions (Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Thailand, UK, USA, and Venezuela) collected the data. The ECC status, dental workforce, oral health policies on ECC prevention in different countries/regions were summarized by each country. Results: The findings indicated that ECC prevalence varied in different countries/regions. The lowest prevalence of ECC among 5-year-old children was found in Nigeria (7%), and the highest was found in Indonesia (90%). The existing dental workforce and resources are limited in most countries. The smallest dentist to population ratio was reported by Nigeria at 1:48,400, whereas the highest ratio was in Brazil (1:600). Out of 14, three (21%) countries namely India, Venezuela and Cambodia had no national oral health policies addressing ECC and four (29%) countries (Cambodia, China, India, Venezuela) had no publicly funded dental care program for 0–5-year-old children. Water fluoridation is available in four countries/regions (Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, USA). Conclusion: ECC remains a global health challenge and dental workforce is limited. National/regional programs to tackle ECC are not yet prioritized in many countries/regions. Evidence to support demonstration projects is limited. Further research on the cost-effectiveness of interventions strategies is required for policymakers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Additional Information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 December 2021
Date of Acceptance: 7 May 2021
Last Modified: 11 May 2023 18:55

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