BACKGROUND: Political conflicts in the Palestinian Territories (PT) have resulted in systematic deterioration of socio-economic conditions and health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasised the negative impacts of social crisis on children' oral health and quality of life.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the prevalence and trends in dental caries and poor gingival health of schoolchildren in the PT through the scholastic years 1998/1999 to 2012/2013.
METHODS: This is a retrospective study. Prevalence data on dental caries of primary and permanent dentitions among children 6, 12 and 16 years of age were gathered from annual oral health reports of the School Dental Health Programme (SDHP)-Ministry of Health. Caries was recorded according to WHO methods and criteria. Decayed, missing and filled teeth indices for primary (dmft) and permanent (DMFT) teeth were calculated. Gingival health status was examined according to the Community Periodontal Index (scores 1 and 2). Statistical analysis used SPSS.
RESULTS: In 2012/2013, dental caries prevalence rates and the index scores among schoolchildren were as follows, respectively: 56.4% and 2.7 dmft at age 6; 42.0% and 1.4 DMFT at age 12; and 38.7% and 1.7 DMFT at age 16. For all age groups, the d/D-component of the caries indices was high. Trends of dental-caries prevalence, caries experience and gingival bleeding were fairly constant over time from 1998/1999.
CONCLUSION: The SDHP was established in order to prevent and control oral diseases among schoolchildren in the PT. The Programme is fairly passive and the survey indicates an urgent need for reorientation of activities towards population-based prevention and health promotion. The application of the WHO Health Promoting Schools concept is highly recommended.
- Arabs/statistics & numerical data
- DMF Index
- Dental Caries/epidemiology
- Gingival Diseases/epidemiology
- Middle East/epidemiology
- Oral Health/statistics & numerical data
- Periodontal Index
- Retrospective Studies
- School Health Services/statistics & numerical data