Oral health

Changing oral health profiles of children in Central and Eastern Europe - Challenges for the 21st century

IC Digest 2003; 2:12-13 (International College of Dentists - European Section)
Poul Erik Petersen, Chief, WHO Oral Health Programme
World Health Organization

Over the past 20 years, a marked decline in the prevalence of oral disease has been observed in several Western industrialised countries. In the adult population, fewer adults are now edentulous and more maintain their functional dentition as measured by having at least 20 natural teeth present. In children, improved oral health is seen in the systematic decline in dental caries and a continually growing number of caries free individuals. This is ascribed to changing life-styles and living conditions, a more sensible approach to sugar consumption, improved oral hygiene practices, use of fluorides in toothpaste, fluoride mouthrinsing or topical application of fluorides, and systematic school-based preventive programmes.

Central and Eastern Europe

Such positive trends of lower dental caries experience in children is shown also for certain Eastern European countries where school oral health programmes were established and maintained up to recent time. For example, this is the case for Slovenia and Hungary. However, the general pattern is that the prevalence rate of dental caries in children has remained high in most of Central and Eastern Europe.


Oral health priority action area