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Int J Paediatr Dent. 2008 Mar;18(2):84-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2007.00903.x.

Outcome of an oral health outreach programme for preschool children in a low socioeconomic multicultural area.

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Public Dental Service, Region Skåne, Malmö, Sweden.



Despite a significant reduction in the prevalence of dental caries, childhood tooth decay is still a public health problem in both developed and developing countries.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the caries preventive effect of an oral health programme for preschool children living in a low socioeconomic multicultural area in the city of Malmö, Sweden.


Eight hundred and four 2-year-old children were enrolled and recalled every third month between ages 2 and 3 and semi-annually between ages 3 and 5 years. From an outreach facility, parents were instructed on oral health with a focus on toothbrushing and diet, and provided fluoride tablets free of charge. Participants completed a clinical examination and a structured interview at age of 5 years, at which point 651 children (81%) remained in the programme. The results of the intervention group were compared with a non-intervention reference group consisting of 201 5-year-old children from the same district.


In the intervention group, 96% attended four or more of their scheduled appointments, and mean caries prevalence was significantly lower than in the reference group (5.4 deft vs. 6.9 deft; P < 0.001). The prevented defs fraction was 27%. Parents' daily assistance with toothbrushing and administering fluoride tablets was significantly better in the intervention group than in the reference group (P < 0.05).


This study demonstrated that the early start of oral health programme had a significant beneficial effect on caries prevalence after 3 years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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