Current Status and Collaborative Strategies Against Early Childhood Caries in Mekong River Region

Pattarawadee Leelataweewud, Apiwan Smutkeeree, Varangkanar Jirarattanasopha
Pediatric Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Mahidol University, DingDang, Bangkok, Thailand

Background: Early childhood caries (ECC) among Mekong river region is prevalent. Global recommendation on preventive approaches for this region needs to be customized to match with its unique social and cultural contexts. Ten dental institutions in six countries formed as International Dental Collaboration of the Mekong river region (IDCMR) have agreed to develop health promotion and prevention strategies against ECC. Review of ECC status and capacities in each country is necessary in developing effective strategies and future action plan. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze currently available data on ECC among Mekong river countries.

Methods: The online questionnaire on epidemiological data for ECC and current ECC preventive strategies of each country was sent to representatives in dental department of member university and Ministry of Health of Cambodia, P.R. China (restricted to Yunnan province), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand. Focus group discussion with the country representatives was then conducted to validate the data at a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in 2017.

Results: ECC prevalence in 5-6 years old ranged from 66-93 percent with dmft 3.5-9.0 based on best available data during 2005-2017. Data in younger age group was limited. ECC problem has not yet been in priority of national health policy in most countries. Level of community intervention varied, ranged from not yet planned to well established. Most country representatives prospect increasing trend of ECC in their countries except Vietnam and Thailand. Proportion of dental personnel involving in child oral health to child population is quite low in the region. Tooth brushing with fluoridated toothpaste by caretaker is a common community approach among countries carried out at various states.

Conclusions: ECC status in IDCMR countries varied. Feasibility in transferring successful strategies implemented in some countries to others is suggested since they share similar social contexts. Capacity building by sharing resources within the region could be used.

Pattarawadee Leelataweewud