Pilot survey on dental health in 5–12-year-old school children in Laos
Dr Sjobbe Besseling, Department of Social Dentistry and Behavioral Sciences, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Nachtegaallaan 9, 5691 VA, Son, the Netherlands.
The burden of dental caries in young Lao children is high. As a result, these children suffer from toothache, and school absenteeism is high. There is a need for the Lao Government to develop a strategy to prevent dental disease, such as caries. The aim of this study was to collect data on the oral health status of PDR children in order to enable the Lao Government to develop strategies on dental health care.
An oral examination, following World Health Organization guidelines, was performed on 289 school children aged 5–12 years in Vientiane, Laos.
Caries prevalence was high in the present sample (average = 85.4%), as well as mean decayed, missing, and filled teeth index (primary and secondary) levels. Nearly all caries were untreated. A trend was observed showing lower caries levels in children who brushed their teeth daily at school.
The burden of dental caries for Loa children is high, while the oral care index is nearly zero. Clearly, this has serious resource and management implications, and the strategy of the government must be on prevention (at a young age), awareness of oral diseases, pain relief. More than anything else, prompt action is required.