Oral health of schoolchildren in Western Australia

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The West Australian School Dental Service (SDS) provides free, statewide, primary dental care to schoolchildren aged 5–17 years. This study reports on an evaluation of the oral health of children examined during the 2014 calendar year. Methods: Children were sampled, based on their date of birth, and SDS clinicians collected the clinical information. Weighted mean values of caries experience were presented. Negative binomial regression modelling was undertaken to test for factors of significance in the rate of caries occurrence. Results: Data from children aged 5–15 years were used (girls = 4616, boys = 4900). Mean dmft (5–10-year-olds), 1.42 SE 0.03; mean DMFT (6–15-year-olds), 0.51 SE 0.01. Negative binomial regression model of permanent tooth caries found higher rates of caries in children who were from non-fluoridated areas (RR 2.1); Aboriginal (RR 2.4); had gingival inflammation (RR 1.5); lower ICSEA level (RR 1.4); and recalled at more than 24-month interval (RR 1.8). Conclusions: The study highlighted poor dental health associated with living in non-fluoridated areas, Aboriginal identity, poor oral hygiene, lower socioeconomic level and having extended intervals between dental checkups. Timely assessments and preventive measures targeted at groups, including extending community water fluoridation, may assist in further improving the oral health of children in Western Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


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