Author(s): Silver DH
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Abstract The teeth of three samples of 3-year-old children were examined in the same fashion over two 8-year periods in a predominantly 'middle-class' town in Hertfordshire. After correcting for the changing social class structure of the town, mean dmft fell by 60\% over the first period and by 29\% over the second period, so the rate of improvement is decreasing. Improvements in caries levels have taken place in all the social classes except for a slight deterioration in social classes IV + V between 1981 and 1989. Ninety-six per cent of social class I + II children, but only 72\% of social class IV + V children were caries-free. After falling from 8\% to 1\% between 1973 and 1981, the proportion of children with rampant labial caries increased to 4\% in 1989. More children now visit a dentist for a check-up before the age of 4 years, more start toothbrushing at an earlier age and with greater frequency, and more are given fluoride supplements. Generally, infant feeding practices have continued to improve, although more mothers reported using a comforter bottle. Some of these practices are still strongly class-related, with manual social class families adopting less favourable behaviour. In inner city areas, family preventive behaviour and dental health is likely to be poorer.
This article was published in Br Dent J
and referenced in Pediatric Dental Care