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Int J Paediatr Dent. 2001 May;11(3):164-70.

Caries prevalence in Belgian children: a review.

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  • 1Department of Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium.


A review of epidemiological surveys on dental caries prevalence, published between 1980 and 1999 in Belgian children, was compiled through a literature search. The number of studies performed in Belgium to date is limited. Methodological differences and confounding factors, especially socio-demographic influences, limit national comparisons of caries prevalence data. Although exact comparisons are difficult, data suggests a decline in caries prevalence in 5, 7 and 12 year-old Belgian schoolchildren in the last 20 years. In the primary dentition dmft values have decreased from 2.66 (1981) to 1.38 (1994) in 5-year-olds and from 4.1 (1983) to 2.24 (1996) in 7-year-olds. In 12-year-olds DMFT values in the permanent dentition have decreased from 3.9 (1983) to 1.93 (1994). WHO goals for the year 2000 appear to have been already reached in Flanders, with a recent estimate of 1.93 for DMFT in 12-year-olds and 56% of children being recorded as caries free at the age of 5. Continuing efforts are needed to screen the oral health of different age groups but standardised criteria and sampling procedures should be used if benefits are to be gained from national and international comparison. Data has often been limited to small selected areas and information representing the entire community of Flanders or Wallonia would be of particular value.

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