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Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry
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Oral Health Prev Dent 18 (2020), No. 2     1. Apr. 2020
Oral Health Prev Dent 18 (2020), No. 2  (01.04.2020)

Open Access CARIOLOGY, Page 177-183, doi:10.3290/j.ohpd.a44322, PubMed:32238990


Changing Levels of Dental Caries over 30 Years among Children in a Country of Central and Eastern Europe – The Case of Hungary
Szöke, Judit / Petersen, Poul Erik
Purpose: Improved oral health of children is noted in most Western countries, but this coincides with a high burden of oral disease in several countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The purpose of the present study was to describe the current level of dental caries in Hungarian children aged 5, 6, and 12 years and to assess the long-term trends in caries over 30 years. In addition, the report aims to highlight the oral health habits of 12-year-old children in Hungary.
Materials and Methods: A representative survey was undertaken in 2016–2017 according to the WHO Pathfinder methodology, which was also applied in previous national oral health surveys of 1985, 1991, 1996, 2001, and 2008. Children of 5–6 and 12 years were sampled systematically in all surveys over 30 years. Data were gathered through clinical examinations and a questionnaire used for 12-year-olds.
Results: In 2016–2017, 42.6% of 5- to 6-year-olds were caries free, with the proportion lower in rural than urban settings. Approximately four primary teeth were affected by caries among children aged 5–6 years. Most of the disease burden consisted of untreated caries. Caries experience was higher for children living in rural areas. At age 12, about two permanent teeth suffered from caries, and the D-component of the caries index was high. The percentage of caries-free 6-year-olds grew from 9% in 1985 to 42.6% in 2016-2017. In 1985, 12-year-olds had on average 5 teeth affected by caries, and after 30 years, the level of caries declined to 2.3 DMFT in 2016–2017. The responses to the questionnaire showed that 11.9% of 12-year-olds visited the dentist because of oral pain or discomfort and 40.5% were dissatisfied by the appearance of their teeth. About 40% of children consumed soft drinks or sweets/candy, several times a day.
Conclusions: Hungary has not yet achieved the WHO goals for children aged 5–6. While Hungary accomplished the WHO goal for oral health of 12-year-olds by the year 2000, it is seems unrealistic for the country to achieve the WHO goal for 12-year-olds by the year 2020. For better oral health of children, strong emphasis should be given to population-directed oral disease prevention, including the reduction of sugar consumption and implementing public health programmes for the effective use of fluoride.

Keywords: dental caries, oral disease prevention, oral health behaviour, national health surveillance, children