A Preventative Approach to Oral Health for Children in a Regional/Rural Community in Victoria, Australia (Kinder-Wide Smiles)

Michael Smith1,2,3,4, Jacqui Pawlak1, Margaret Rogers1,2, Lindy Carroll1, Sharon Sharp1
1 Oral Health Services, Barwon Health, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
2 School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
3 Oral Health Services, Colac Area Health, Colac, Victoria, Australia
4 School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Background: Many Kindergarten children in the regional/rural community of South-West Victoria have required emergency dental appointments or treatment under general anaesthesia. Our aim was to improve access to dental services for children in the region by providing dental assessments to children who may otherwise not attend clinics.

Methods: In 2013, Barwon Health and Colac Area Health commenced an outreach program for Kindergarten children (3-5 years old) named Kinder Wide Smiles. Fifty-eight Kindergartens throughout the Geelong and Colac-Otway region were visited. In addition 7 Primary Schools were screened in the Colac-Otway region and 19 throughout Geelong. Children received three dental check-ups during the year and fluoride application (0.25ml/tooth) with Duraphat® (Colgate-Palmolive Pty. Ltd.) for white-spot lesions (ICDAS score of 01 or 02).

Conclusion: During 2013-15, 7048 children (65% participation rate of children for the entire region) had dental screenings at Kindergartens and Primary School. The prevalence of caries free teeth for the region was 53.4% for 3-4yr olds (2013-2014). In 2013 alone, there were 1,383 children (138,300 tooth surfaces) who were screened at every visit. Of these children 414 (30%) had 1,256 surfaces with an ICDAS of “01 or 02” at Visit 1 and therefore the potential for remineralization. Of the 1,256 surfaces, 1,090 (89%) either remained stable or remineralized to “00 or 01” by Visit 2. At Visit 2 there were 523 children with 1,622 tooth surfaces scored at “01 or 02”. Of these 1,622 tooth surfaces, 1454 (90%) surfaces remained stable or remineralized by Visit 3.

Michael Smith