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Open Access Highly Accessed Debate

Managing dental caries in children in Turkey - a discussion paper

Asli Topaloglu-Ak1*, Ece Eden1 and Jo E Frencken2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Ege University, Bornova, Izmir, 35100, Turkey

2 Nijmegen International Centre for Oral Health, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, College of Dental Sciences, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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BMC Oral Health 2009, 9:32  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-9-32

Published: 25 November 2009

Abstract

Background

This paper describes the oral healthcare system and disease situation amongst children in Turkey. Considering the high prevalence and severity of dental caries, a proposal for improvement of oral health in this population group is formulated.

Discussion

A virtual absence of palliative, preventive and restorative care characterises juvenile oral healthcare in Turkey. Consequently, carious cavities remain untreated, which may lead to pain, discomfort and functional limitation and, further, may impact negatively upon general health and cognitive development. As a first step to controlling dental caries, a national health programme including promotional, preventive and minimal intervention approaches for managing dental caries is proposed. The pros and cons of community-oriented caries-preventive measures are discussed. Daily tooth brushing with fluoridated toothpaste at home, in mother- and child-care centres, kindergartens, and schools is highlighted.

Summary

The dental profession, government, university officials and other stakeholders need to meet and determine how best the oral health of children in Turkey can be improved. The present proposed plan is considered a starting point.