Qatar mandates dental screenings for children to boost poor oral health

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Kids in Qatar do not have good teeth. So states the Supreme Council of Health, which has found that seven out 10 six-year-olds here suffer from varying amounts of dental decay. 

The newly released National Oral Health Survey, which examined more than 3,200 children in independent and private schools in Qatar, also found that more than half of kids aged 12 to 15 years old showed signs of tooth decay or infection.

In response to the alarming numbers, officials are mandating that all children in Qatar be screened for dental decay before leaving nursery and entering kindergarten, around age four, Gulf Times reports.

Notably, the survey found that the level of dental decay among children here varies by nationality and schooling. According to Sheikha al-Anoud bint Mohamed al-Thani, the Supreme Council of Health’s Promotion and Noncommunicable Diseases manager:

“The survey finds that the incidence of tooth decay is higher among girls than boys, the incidence of tooth decay is higher among Qataris than non-Qataris and the incidence of tooth decay is higher among students in government schools than in international or private schools.”

Hewing to World Health Organization standards, Qatar hopes to reduce the number of six-year-old children with caries to 50 percent.

The SCH is working on an oral health strategy to help get to that point, but is already encouraging parents to take preventative measures to protect their children’s teeth, including:

  • Having a dentist apply teeth sealant to prevent cavities;
  • Reducing sugar/sweets intake to prevent further gum or tooth decay; and
  • Ensuring children get enough fluoride either by drinking fortified water or through an application at the dentist’s twice a year.

Do your children have healthy teeth? Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Green MPs

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