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J Oral Sci. 2009 Mar;51(1):131-5.

The oral health of children in a rural area of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

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Department of Oral Health Sciences, Nihon University School of Dentistry, Tokyo, Japan.


The lack of information on oral health in Laos makes it difficult to estimate the need and methods for preventing oral disease. This study identified problems concerning the oral health of Lao children. The study subjects were 59 school children who lived in Pakkading District. Dental caries, gingivitis malocclusions, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, dental plaque, and calculus were examined. We observed an average of 1.6 decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) and 4.1 decayed and filled deciduous teeth (dft) per child. 25.4% had gingivitis scores from 16 to 20 on the papillary, marginal, and attached (PMA) index; 29.6% had one or more occlusal abnormality; and 0% had signs of TMJ disorders. 93.5% of the children had at least one buccal or lingual tooth surface with plaque covering more than two thirds of the surface; 32.6% had dental calculus. Oral health promotion programs for children should prioritise prevention and treatment of caries. It is likely that the high rate of gingivitis in Lao children is due mainly to unsuccessful plaque control in daily life. In addition to descriptive epidemiological studies of dental diseases in other areas, the influence of sociological and behavioural factors on oral health should be analyzed epidemiologically to promote child health.

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