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Arch Hellen Med, 39(2), March-April 2022, 188-196


Community-based population interventions for the promotion of oral health in children

K. Vlasiadis,1 M. Alexaki,2 M. Koutsamani,3 A. Patelarou4
1Dental Clinic, University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Crete,
2Dental Department, Public Health Center of Heraklion, Heraklion, Crete,
3Dental Clinic, "Venizeleio-Pananeio" General Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Crete,
4Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Welfare Sciences, Hellenic Mediterranean University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Oral diseases, such as caries, gum diseases and periodontitis, are very common conditions affecting children from an early age, and they constitute a major public health problem, with serious social and economic consequences. Today, worldwide, oral health problems are among the most costly, in terms of the treatment of health problems, with significant direct and indirect consequences for each patient individually, and for the family expenses and the country's budget. The community-based population-level interventions that appear to provide the best results in promoting children's oral health are modification of dietary habits, oral health education, offered primarily in the school environment, supervised brushing of the teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride, and the combination of oral health education in the school environment with a number of other preventive interventions. Concerning pregnant women, mothers of newborn children and caregivers of young children, interventions which have shown a significant reduction of dental caries in young children up to the age of six years were the systematic counselling of these groups on healthy eating and feeding tactics for their children. The use of fluoride toothpastes and the supervised use of fluoride mouth rinses also appear to have beneficial effects. Finally, the effect of water fluoridation on the oral health of the children and adolescents (but not adults) is also noteworthy.

Key words: Community, Oral health, Population intervention.

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