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Epidemiology of dental caries in children in the United Arab Emirates

Authors

  • Ghada S. M. Al-Bluwi

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Public Health, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, UAE
    • Correspondence to:

      Dr Ghada Salameh Al-Bluwi, B.D.S.,

      United Arab Emirates University,

      College of Medicine and Health Sciences,

      Institute of Public Health,

      PO Box 17666, Al Ain, UAE.

      Email: ghada7000@hotmail.com

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Abstract

Dental caries has a significant impact on the general health and development of children. Understanding caries epidemiology is an essential task for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) policymakers to evaluate preventive programmes and to improve oral health. The purpose of this review is to collect and summarise all data available in the published literature on the epidemiology of dental caries in the UAE in children aged under 13 years. This will provide dental health planners with a comprehensive data summary, which will help in the planning for and evaluation of dental caries prevention programmes. Data were collected from the various published studies in PubMed, Academic Search Complete, Google, and the reference lists in relevant articles. Four keywords were used in the search: ‘dental caries,’ ‘epidemiology,’ ‘prevalence,’ and ‘UAE’. All studies conducted in the UAE in general or any single emirate that sheds light on the prevalence of dental caries of children under 13 years were included in this literature review. Studies on early childhood caries and factors associated with dental caries were also included. The review comprises 11 published surveys of childhood caries in UAE. The earliest study was published in 1991 and the most recent was published in 2011. The range of decayed, missing and filled primary teeth (dmft) in UAE children (age between 4 years and 6 years) was 5.1–8.4. For the 12-year-old group the decayed missing and filled permanent teeth (DMFT) ranged from 1.6 to 3.24. Baseline data on oral health and a good understanding of dental caries determinants are necessary for setting appropriate goals and planning for preventive oral health programmes. The current data available on the dmft and DMFT indicate that childhood dental caries is still a serious dental public health problem in the UAE that warrants immediate attention by the government and policy makers.

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