Divisione di Pediatria, Ospedale Civile di Tolmezzo (Udine)
Key words: Dental caries, Dental hygiene, Primary paediatric care, Prevention programmes, Fluoroprophylaxis
The Authors describe their 15-year experience on caries prevention in a district of Northeastern Italy. The programme included fluoroprophylaxis and scheduled education of parents, administered by paediatricians within the routine well child visits. The prevalence of caries, as well as parents knowledge on dental hygiene was determined according to WHO criteria (dmft scoring system) in subsequent cohorts of children, born before and after the beginning of the programme and as a consequence with increasing degrees of exposure to the prevention programme. The percentage of 6-year old children free from caries increased over time from 8% to 66%, with dmft decreasing from 5,1 to 1,2 from 1983 to 1996. The number of parents whose knowledge on caries prevention was totally inadequate decreased from 19% to 8% over the same period. The Authors underline the effectiveness of the programme, its limited costs and the role played by health education given to parents by paediatricians.
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