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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516


REDDY, M  and  SINGH, S. Dental Caries status in six-year-old children at Health Promoting Schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2015, vol.70, n.9, pp.396-401. ISSN 0375-1562.

The 2003 National Children's Oral Health Survey indicated that 35.2% of six-year-olds in KwaZulu-Natal were caries free and only 40% had received dental treatment. The aim of the present study almost ten years later was to investigate these data in six-year-old children at Health Promoting Schools in KwaZulu-Natal. METHODS: A quantitative, epidemiological explorative study was conducted on a sample of 345 Grade 1 learners attending 23 schools, selected by statistical sampling from the eleven districts of KwaZulu-Natal. The World Health Organisation DMFT Tool (1994) was used to record the data RESULTS: The caries rate of the sample was 73% (ie. 27% caries free) and the mean dmft was 3.65. The average dmft per school ranged from a high of 6.8 to a low of 1.1, both from rural districts. 94% of the learners required treatment, the majority (90%) needing preventive care. The Unmet Treatment Need (UTN) was 97% CONCLUSIONS: The number of caries free six year old children in KwaZulu-Natal has declined further compared with ten years ago. Dental caries is still a major public health problem. An effective and efficient oral health promotion programme will do much to instil simple healthy behaviours at an early age.

Keywords : dental caries prevalence; health promoting schools; oral health promotion; oral health services; treatment needs.

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