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Keywords:

  • australian aborigines;
  • pre-school children;
  • enamel hypoplasia;
  • dental caries prevalence

Seow WK, Amaratunge A, Bennett R, Bronsch D, Lai PY: Dental health of Aboriginal pre-schools children in Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract This investigation studied the dental health status of a group of 184 Australian Aboriginal children with a mean age of 4.4±0.8 years, who were attending pre-schools in metropolitan Brisbane, a non-fluoridated stale capital city. The DDE (Developmental Detects of Enamel) Index was used to chart enamel hypoplasia and enamel opacities. WHO criteria was used to diagnose dental caries. The results showed that 98% of children had at least one tooth showing developmental enamel defects. Each child had a mean of 3.8 ± 1.7 teeth affected by enamel hypoplasia and another 1.1 ± 0.8 teeth affected by enamel opacity. Seventy-eight percent of the children had dental caries. The mean number of decayed, missing, filled teeth (dmft) per child was 3.8±3.7. The decayed component consituted 3.5 (95%) of the mean dmft, indicating a high unmet restorative need in this group. The mean dmft (decayed, missing, filled, surfaces) was 5.9 ± 7.3. Maxillary anterior labial decay of al least one tooth affected 43(23%) of the children. In this sub-group, the dmft and dmfs was 9.1 ± 2.8 and 15.4 ± 7.7 respectively. Oral debris was found in 98% of the children. It is hypothesized that the high levels of underlying developmental enamel defects, compounded by low fluoride exposure, poor oral hygiene and a diet high in refined sugars pose an important caries risk factor in this group of children.