The aim was to elucidate whether variables recorded in early childhood would have a long-lasting predictive value of poor dental health at the age of 10 years in a prospectively followed Finnish population-based cohort setting. The second aim was to find new tools for preventive work in order to improve dental health among children. Poor dental health (dmft + DMFT >or= 5) at 10 years of age was associated with child's nocturnal juice drinking at 18 months. It was associated with the following factors at age 3 years: frequent consumption of sweets; infrequent tooth brushing; plaque and caries on teeth. Of family factors, the following were significant: father's young age at birth of the child; mother's basic 9-year education; mother's caries (i.e. several carious teeth per year), and father's infrequent tooth brushing. Early childhood risk factors of poor dental health seem to be stable even after 10 years of life and the changing of teeth from primary to permanent ones. In preventive work, dental health care staff could offer support to those parents with risk factors in their child rearing tasks.
This study sought to determine how dental health and dental health habits change from 3 to 5 years of age and to consider whether preventive dental health care helped in preventing or halting caries in children.
The study included 67 maternity health care clinics, 72 well-baby clinics, and 69 dental health care clinics. Of the 1,292 newborn children, 1,003 (90.8%) were included in this study.
Preventive dental health care contributed to dental caries being halted in only 13.2 percent of those children who had enamel caries at 3 years of age. The dmft index did not increase in 22.6 percent of those children who had dentinal caries at 3 years of age. For all others, the disease became more severe. Toothbrushing habits of 3-year-old children were very consistent over the two years studied. Children were at a risk for caries when their mothers had nine years of basic education, when they already had plaque and caries at 3 years of age, and when the frequency of eating sweets increased the most during the two-year study period.
Among 3-year-old children, plaque is an indicator of caries risk and therefore should be a key element in health education. Those children who already have evidence of caries at 3 years of age should be the target of preventive dental services because of their increased risk.
The objective was to study dental health among nine-year-old long-term ill and disabled children and their matched controls using DMFT/dmft-indices (decayed-missing-filled-teeth, of both permanent and deciduous teeth); to analyze similarities and differences of their family factors; the children's dental health habits which include dietary factors; to assess capabilities of the health care personnel in the identification of the risk groups and in the provision of services; and finally to investigate family satisfaction with the dental health care services provided. One dentist (M-L M) routinely carried out the clinical examinations of the children using the DMFT(dmft)-index. Only cavities extending to dentin were included in the DMF and dmf indices. X-rays were also used. It was found that less than half of the children (46%) had healthy teeth (DMFT and dmft both = 0), with 41% among the study group and 51% among the controls. The DMFS index of the longterm ill children was slightly, but not significantly greater than that of the controls, and these children used dental health care services more but their families were less satisfied with the services. The long-term ill children had less orthodontic care than the controls although they needed it more frequently, and they had a designated candy day significantly more often than the controls. Special diets were associated with long-term ill children, as were the sociodemographic factors of marital status, divorce, or stepfather present. No significant differences existed between the groups in toothbrushing and the use of fluoride products. In the status and health of teeth as measured with the DMFT/dmft indices, there were no statistically significant differences between the group of the long-term-ill children and healthy controls. Estimation of the focusing of care was considered successful concerning dental health, but resource limitations emerged and contributed to parents not being satisfied with the frequency dental care services offered.