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Early childhood caries and oral health care of Hong Kong preschool children

Authors Chen KJ, Gao SS, Duangthip D, Lo ECM, Chu CH

Received 15 October 2018

Accepted for publication 18 December 2018

Published 17 January 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 27—35


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Christopher E. Okunseri

Kitty Jieyi Chen, Sherry Shiqian Gao, Duangporn Duangthip, Edward Chin Man Lo, Chun Hung Chu

Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong

Abstract: Surveys have shown that the prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC) among 5-year-old children decreased from 63% in 1993 to 55% in 2017. Caries experience was unevenly distributed; 81% of the caries lesions were found in 26% of the children. Risk factors, including oral hygiene practice behaviors, sugar consumption, parental oral health-related knowledge, and sociodemographic backgrounds, were significantly related to ECC. Oral health promotion aimed at managing the burden of ECC has been implemented. Water fluoridation was launched in 1961, and the fluoride concentration has been adjusted to 0.5 ppm since 1988. It is considered an important dental public health measure in Hong Kong. The Department of Health set up the Oral Health Education Unit in 1989 to deliver oral health education to further improve the oral health of preschool children. Other nongovernmental organizations also launched short-term oral health promotion programs for preschool children. However, no significant change in the prevalence of ECC has been observed in the recent two decades. There is a necessity to revisit dental public health policies and develop effective evidence-based strategies to encourage changes in oral health-related behaviors to forestall the impending epidemic of ECC in Hong Kong.

Keywords: caries, oral health, children, Hong Kong

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