Letters

Future of preventive dentistry Caries in children ignored

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6955.672 (Published 10 September 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:672
  1. G B Winter
  1. Department of Children's Dentistry, Eastman Dental Hospital, London WC1X 8LD
  2. Human Biochemistry Research Unit, South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
  3. Dental Research Institute of the Medical Research Council and the University Institute of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa Dental Centre, Brunei Garrison, BFPO 11.

    EDITOR, - In his editorial on the future of preventive dentistry1 Aubrey Sheiham quotes selectively from a report by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys2 and is in danger of misleading readers into believing that only 17% of 8 year old children had experienced caries in 1993 in England and Wales. This figure applies only to the permanent dentition and only to England, the comparable figure for Wales being 22%. Furthermore, Sheiham fails to mention that the report also gives the prevalence of caries in 5 year old children: in this age group 44% of children in England and 54% in Wales had already experienced the disease in their deciduous teeth. The prevalences recorded in 1983 and 1993 indicate that in 5 year old children in England the decline in caries has now levelled off.

    The misery that caries in deciduous teeth can bring to young children is evident to those of us who care for them. This is particularly true for children under 5 who require general anaesthesia for the extraction of multiple teeth.3 …

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