The objective of this study was to examine dental inspection data from 3-year-old children in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland, over 4 years to assess oral health trends during a period of implementation of a national child dental health improvement programme (Childsmile). Dental inspections of 3-year-old children in Greater Glasgow and Clyde were undertaken in the academic years 2006/7, 2007/8 (the baseline years), 2008/9 and 2009/10 (post intervention). The number of decayed, missing and filled teeth was calculated (d3mft), together with the percentage d3mft>0. The study also examined the effect of socioeconomic status using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). In total, 10 022 children were inspected (19% of the population). The weighted percentage of children with caries experience was 26% in 2006/7, 25% (2007/8), reducing to 18% (2007/8) and 17% (2009/10). When compared to the first baseline year of 2006/7, the OR was 0.91 for 2007/8 (0.79–1.06, p=0.221), 0.63 for 2008/9 (0.55–0.72, p<0.001), and 0.50 for 2009/10 (0.43–0.58, p<0.001). The weighted mean d3mft was 1.1 in 2006/7, 1.0 in 2007/8 (p=0.869), 0.6 in 2008/9 (p<0.001) and 0.4 in 2009/10 (p<0.001). Caries reductions were seen in all socioeconomic groups. This study demonstrates that it is possible to impact upon the prevalence and morbidity of dental caries across the socioeconomic spectrum in a population. The dental health of young children in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Board area has improved significantly in recent years.
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