Introduction The 2006 National Oral Health Survey in the Philippines was part of an advocacy strategy for increased attention for the neglected state of child oral health in the country. The survey assessed the oral health status of 6- and 12-yr-old children in a representative national sample.
Methods Survey of 2030 6-yr-old and 2022 12-yr-old children, using WHO Basic Methods (WHOBM 4th edition) and the new PUFA-index. Inclusion of a subsample of 242 12-yr-old children for assessment of backward comparability between the 3rd edition of the WHOBM used in the previous survey (1998) and the 4th edition WHOBM.
Results 97% of 6-yr-old children had caries (mean dmft 8.4, d=8.0, m=0.4, f=0), 85% live with dental infection (mean pufa 3.4) and 20% reported pain when examined. 12-yr-old children had 82% caries prevalence (mean DMFT 2.9, D=2.7,M=0.2, F=0), 56% prevalence of pulp involvement (mean PUFA 1), and 16% reported pain when examined.
Conclusion The burden of dental decay is very high and has remained virtually unchanged since 1998, indicating a complete failure of previous oral health strategies. The differences in methodology between the 1998 and the 2006 surveys were accountable for the difference in DMFT values recorded. Oral health surveys should not be conducted for the sake of surveying, but they should be used in the context of advocacy to address the neglect of oral health. For this, they must include an indicator framework that allows for linkages of the oral health status into the broader sectors of health and development.
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