Fluoride Action Network


(1) Background: The objective is to systematically review the evidence on intervention programs aiming at reducing inequality in dental caries among children.

(2) Methods: Two independent investigators searched MEDLINE, Cochrane library, and Ovid up to December 2020 to identify intervention studies assessing the impact on socioeconomic inequalities in dental caries among children. The interventions included any health promotion/preventive intervention aiming at reducing caries among children across different socioeconomic groups. Comparison groups included children with alternative or no intervention. Cochrane criteria were used to assess interventional studies for risk of bias.

(3) Results: After removal of duplicate studies, 1235 articles were retained. Out of 43 relevant papers, 13 articles were identified and used in qualitative synthesis, and reported quantifiable outcomes. The included studies varied in measurements of interventions, sample size, age groups, and follow-up time. Five studies assessed oral health promotion or health-education, four assessed topical fluorides, and four assessed water fluoridation. Interventions targeting the whole population showed a consistent reduction of socioeconomic inequalities in dental caries among children.

(4) Conclusion: The quality of included papers was moderate. High heterogeneity did not allow aggregation of the findings. The overall findings suggest that whole population interventions such as water fluoridation are more likely to reduce inequalities in children’s caries than target population and individual interventions.

Keywords: child; dental caries; inequalities; socioeconomic factors; systematic review

*Full-text article online at https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/3/1300





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