Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Oral health disparities in Sri Lanka

Dental caries and poor oral health have been linked to socio-economic and ethnic differences among pre-schoolers in Sri-Lanka. Vajira Nanayakkara and colleagues from the DEPM has investigated the links between factors such as parental education levels, ethnicity and socio-economic strata and dental health in an attempt to identify the most at risk populations.

What Vajira discovered was that compared to fathers who had a tertiary education, those whose fathers did not study beyond grade 5 had more dental caries and experienced worse oral health. which is linked to quality of life. Conversely, lower levels of education among mothers were associated with better dental health. This was reasoned as being a consequence of unemployment, and the mothers having more time to supervise the children’s dental habits.
Tamil children also fared worse of gingivial bleeding and poor oral health linked quality of life as compared to the Sinhalese group, with Muslim children also having poor oral health as well. Children of lower income families also had higher levels of gum bleeding than those from higher income families.
From these results the researchers determined that any future interventions should focus on children of fathers with low educational levels and minority groups in order to reduce inequalities in oral health in Sri Lanka.

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