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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 57-58

Child oral health

Department of Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Date of Submission07-Sep-2021
Date of Decision07-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance07-Sep-2021
Date of Web Publication29-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Yasmen Elhadi Elamin Elsadek
School of Dentistry, University of Leeds, Clarendon Way, Leeds, LS2 9JT
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/dmr.dmr_29_21

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How to cite this article:
Elamin Elsadek YE. Child oral health. Dent Med Res 2021;9:57-8

How to cite this URL:
Elamin Elsadek YE. Child oral health. Dent Med Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Dec 5];9:57-8. Available from: https://www.dmrjournal.org/text.asp?2021/9/2/57/331399

Child health has been of global interest for the past few decades.[1] Globally, around 11 million deaths of children under the age of 5 years occur, which are due to preventable causes. Hence, child health has taken center stage.[2] Dental caries if left untreated may lead to serious complications including sepsis.[3] As such, the prevention of childhood caries is a public health priority. Children have been given priority in global agenda due to their vulnerability which is usually exacerbated in children from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds.[4] As a result, these minority groups face an aggregate burden of oral disease which gets complicated with the socioeconomic and cultural barriers to oral health care.[5]

Dental caries is considered an appalling public health problem, it accounts for the majority of global problem of oral disease[6] being the most prevalent disease of childhood.[7] Tooth decay although largely preventable has been found to affect around 60% to 90% of children worldwide.[6] Moreover, the impact of dental caries can endure throughout life course affecting adult health[8],[9] and potentially, future cohorts.[10]

Dental decay being associated with pain and other severe complications affects function, esthetics, and overall quality of life.[11],[12] Dental pain causes eating, playing, and sleeping difficulties[13] which detrimentally affect children's social development and well-being. Furthermore, the consequences of untreated dental caries may extend to affect the child psychosocially, lowering their confidence and self-esteem, which may lead to loneliness and social isolation.[4] Moreover, dental pain deteriorates school performance and achievements as it causes repetitive absenteeism,[14] for example, in England, 26% of schoolchildren missed an average of three school days due to dental caries.[15]

In addition, Goffman[16] argued the importance of facial appearance (particularly the mouth) in most cultures. In modern culture, tooth decay and loss appear to have negative connotations, being commonly associated with severe deprivation and disadvantage[17] as well as unhygienic/unhealthy lifestyles.[18]

Maintenance of good oral health depends on a myriad of socioenvironmental and behavioral factors that pose challenges to designing effective health promotion and prevention programs.[19] Behavioral causes of dental decay such as frequent sugar consumption and inadequate oral hygiene practices are virtually completely preventable.[20] For these reasons and those highlighted above, oral health promotion has become common practice throughout the world, at both individual and population levels. However, the aforementioned complex interplay of variables influences oral health, potentially having a cumulative effect that appears most profound in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.

Globally, at least 200 million children do not attaining their full development potential,[21] the issue that has a huge impact on children's health and the society as a whole.[1] However, over one billion children access schools worldwide, which clearly are settings where people learn, play, love, work, and spend a lot of their time. Henceforth, they are considered appropriate settings for promoting health including oral health.

It is crucial to determine the oral health status of schoolchildren to assist service planning and development that in turn would be orientated to meeting the needs of the population.[22] Henceforth, we should attempt to demonstrate the range of approaches that could be adopted to resolve this ongoing problem by reviewing the effectiveness of interventions targeting children in foundational years and determining the challenges and facilitators to achieving effective change. This will hopefully assist the improvement of child oral health outcomes worldwide.

Hence, we invite authors to contribute to the evidence base by submitting high-quality research regarding oral health promotion, prevention, and disease burden. We welcome original articles, systematic reviews, informative case series, and case reports. Papers reporting on the methodological aspects of research in this area are also very welcome.

  References Top

CSDH. Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 1
Skolnik RL. Essentials of global health. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 2
Pine CM, Harris RV, Burnside G, Merrett MC. An investigation of the relationship between untreated decayed teeth and dental sepsis in 5-year-old children. Br Dent J 2006;200:45-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Riggs E, Rajan S, Casey S, Kilpatrick N. Refugee child oral health. Oral Dis 2017;23:292-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
El-Yousfi S, Jones K, White S, Marshman Z. A rapid review of barriers to oral healthcare for vulnerable people. Br Dent J 2019;227:143-51.  Back to cited text no. 5
Oral Health. World Health Organization; 2018. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 20].  Back to cited text no. 6
Selwitz RH, Ismail AI, Pitts NB. Dental caries. Lancet 2007;369:51-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Green J, Tones K. Health Promotion: Planning and Strategies. London: SAGE; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 8
Thomson WM, Poulton R, Kruger E, Boyd D. Socio-economic and behavioural risk factors for tooth loss from age 18 to 26 among participants in the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study. Caries Res 2000;34:361-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Amin MS, Harrison RL. Understanding parents' oral health behaviors for their young children. Qual Health Res 2009;19:116-27.  Back to cited text no. 10
Gussy MG, Waters EG, Walsh O, Kilpatrick NM. Early childhood caries: Current evidence for aetiology and prevention. J Paediatr Child Health 2006;42:37-43.  Back to cited text no. 11
Sheiham A. Oral health, general health and quality of life. Bull World Health Organ 2005;83:644.  Back to cited text no. 12
Casamassimo PS, Thikkurissy S, Edelstein BL, Maiorini E. Beyond the dmft: The human and economic cost of early childhood caries. J Am Dent Assoc 2009;140:650-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
Jackson SL, Vann WF Jr., Kotch JB, Pahel BT, Lee JY. Impact of poor oral health on children's school attendance and performance. Am J Public Health 2011;101:1900-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
Child Oral Health: Applying All Our Health. Public Health England; 2018. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-oral-health-applying-all-ourhealth/child-oral-health-applying-all-our-health. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 07].  Back to cited text no. 15
Goffman E. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Penguin; 1990.  Back to cited text no. 16
Gibson B. Cultural history of the mouth and teeth. Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body. Westport, Conn:Greenwood Press; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 17
Exley C. Bridging a gap: The (lack of a) sociology of oral health and healthcare. Sociol Health Illn 2009;31:1093-108.  Back to cited text no. 18
Casamassimo PS, Lee JY, Marazita ML, Milgrom P, Chi DL, Divaris K. Improving children's oral health: An interdisciplinary research framework. J Dent Res 2014;93:938-42.  Back to cited text no. 19
Edelstein BL. The dental caries pandemic and disparities problem. BMC Oral Health 2006;6 Suppl 1:S2.  Back to cited text no. 20
Grantham-McGregor S, Cheung YB, Cueto S, Glewwe P, Richter L, Strupp B, et al. Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries. Lancet 2007;369:60-70.  Back to cited text no. 21
Conway DI, Quarrell I, McCall DR, Gilmour H, Bedi R, Macpherson LM. Dental caries in 5-year-old children attending multi-ethnic schools in Greater Glasgow--The impact of ethnic background and levels of deprivation. Community Dent Health 2007;24:161-5.  Back to cited text no. 22


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