Dental Health of Kindergarten Children
Community Health Status Report Issue #13, December 2006 Executive Summary
This report presents the results of the Ontario Dental Indices Survey for Renfrew County and District for the school years 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05. Dental hygienists from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit visited all JK/SK classes during these three school years to conduct the survey.
Almost 90 percent of the JK/SK children surveyed were age four or five, so this report focuses on these two ages. We surveyed an estimated 80 percent of the total population of five year olds and a smaller proportion of four year olds.
Seventy-three percent of four year olds were caries-immune (never had a cavity) during the time period studied (3-year average). Sixty-six percent of five year olds were caries-immune during the time period studied (3-year average). Caries-immunity of five-year olds was close to what it was in 1988 and 1990. We do not have information on the survey methodology used in 1988 and 1990, so we are unable to determine if results from the two time periods are directly comparable.
Severity of Dental Caries
Severity of dental caries was measured by counting the number of decayed, extracted, missing and filled teeth (deft/DMFT).
The mean deft/DMFT in four year olds ranged from 1.12 to 1.47.
The mean deft/DMFT in five year olds ranged from 1.61 to 1.89. The deft/DMFT scores seem to have risen (worsened) since achieving lows of 1.46 and 1.28 in 1988 and 1990. As with caries immunity, we are unable to determine if results from the two time periods are directly comparable.
When children without tooth decay were taken out of the calculation of mean deft/DMFT, the scores rose from between one and two, to close to five.
Urgent Treatment Needs
8.3 percent of four year olds and 9.8 percent of five year olds were found to have urgent dental treatment needs over the three years studied (3-year averages). About one tenth of the students surveyed had urgent dental treatment needs in the 2004/05 school year.
Non-urgent Treatment Needs
5.7 percent of four year olds and 4.5 percent of five year olds were found to have non-urgent dental treatment needs over the three years studied (3-year averages).
Children in Need of Treatment (CINOT) Program
An average of 82 four and five year olds received dental treatment through the CINOT program each year during the time period studied. This represents just over half (54%) of the children identified with urgent treatment needs. The average CINOT expenditure per child was $424 over the three-year period.
Recommendations for Dental Health Programs at the Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Continue to monitor the results of the Dental Indices Survey and report on any changes.
- Continue to offer dental health screening at Child Health Clinics (held monthly during the school year at locations across Renfrew County and District).
- Increase efforts to integrate oral health education into prenatal classes, the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, and any healthy eating and healthy weight initiatives that reach young children.
- Involve members of the target group in the development of existing and new initiatives.
- Encourage health and social service providers to reinforce oral health education messages.
- Ensure that written communication about dental health programs and services is understandable to the target audience.
- Work with local and regional partners to promote early identification of dental disease and early initiation of regular dental care.
- Work with community partners to advocate for a public dental care program accessible to low income people of all ages.