Fluoride Action Network

Over 60% of Dubai students have unhealthy teeth, gums

Source: Khaleej Times | February 18th, 2015

Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) today announced the results of the dental survey that provides details of the oral hygiene status of Dubai school children. The survey was conducted across 47 government and private schools in Dubai using dental mobile screening buses.

As part of the survey, 5,617 students in the age group of 5 to 7 years, 12 to 15 years and 15 to 17 years, from public and private schools in Dubai, underwent a screening programme.

According to the results of the survey, 65.2 per cent of children aged 5-7 years had dental caries. The ratio stood at 59.2 per cent for 12-15 years age group, and 65.9 per cent for 15-17 years age group.

The proportion of children suffering from gingival problems was an astonishing 80 per cent in the 12-15 years age group; the number declined to 57 per cent for the 15 to 17 years age group.

In terms of fluorosis, in the age group of 12 to 15 years, 93 per cent of the children had no form of fluorosis, and in the age group of 15 to 17 years, 80 per cent of the children had no signs of the no form of the disease.

The survey included screening programmes and clinical examinations which were carried out by DHA dentists and hygienists according to World Health Organisation criteria. The Decay-Missing-Filled Teeth index (DMFT), which is one of the most common methods in oral epidemiology for assessing dental caries prevalence as well as dental treatment needs among populations, was used for this survey.

Schools across all geographical areas of Dubai including Hatta were part of the survey. Of the 5,617 students that took part in the survey, 1,939 were from governmental schools and 3678 were from private schools.

Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General of the DHA, said: ‘Such surveys are vital to assess the current status of healthcare across medical fields in Dubai because then we can base our policies on concrete evidence-based data and we can benchmark ourselves internationally. This research undertaken provides us with information about the current level of oral healthcare habits of school children in Dubai. We will now base our oral healthcare policies and preventative programmes in accordance with the results of the survey to ensure we effectively help improve oral health behaviour among school children.’

Dr. Hamda Al Mesmar, Director of Dental Services at the DHA, said, ‘We believe that formulating preventative programmes based on scientific-evidence and research will directly help in reducing the prevalence of dental health problems among children and adolescents in Dubai.’

She added that the survey was undertaken as per World Health Organisation guidelines – the age group, sample size etc. are as per the recommendations of the WHO. “Oral health problems only get worse with age and therefore educating the youth and encouraging oral health hygiene early on is crucial. Often oral health problems are neglected but parents and caregivers need to understand that common oral diseases such as dental caries and periodontitis tend to cause pain and discomfort subsequently leading to absenteeism and poor performance among pupils.”

She added that the survey results point out that improved oral hygiene, a sensible approach to sugar consumption and school-based preventive programmes are essential to reduce the problem of caries among school children.

She said the total number of students that took part in the survey were 5,617 students, and of these 1,317 students were in the age group of 5 to 7 years, 2,237 students were in the age group of 12 to 15 years and 2,036 students were in the age group of 15 to 17 years.