Sugar consumption and dental caries experience in Kenya
Macigo, Francis G
Mutave, Regina J
Gathece, Loice W
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Introduction: There have been claims that dental caries experience and prevalence in Kenya has been increasing as a result of increased sugar consumption. A review of the literature in 1986 failed to link dental caries experience with an increase in gross national sugar consumption. Subsequently, a number of studies were conducted, necessitating further review to examine trends in dental caries experience and to relate this to changes in per capita sugar consumption. Methods: Studies conducted since 1980 for children 3–15 years of age were examined. Dental caries prevalence and experience for 3–5 years’ (deciduous teeth) and 12 years’ (permanent teeth) age groups were analysed. Calculation of per capita sugar consumption was performed using gross national annual sugar consumption for 1969–2009 national population census years. Results: There was a gradual increase in per capita sugar consumption, from 35.5 g/day in 1969 to 60.8 g/day in 2009. Dental caries experience in deciduous teeth for children 3–5 years of age increased from a decayed, missing and filled teeth/decayed and filled teeth (dmft/dft) index of 1.5 in the 1980s to 2.95 in the 2000s. At 12 years of age, caries experience for permanent teeth increased from a DMFT of 0.2 to a DMFT of 0.92 over the same period. Dental caries prevalence for both deciduous and permanent teeth also increased with time. Conclusion: These observations suggest that dental caries prevalence and experience increased with time, in parallel to an increase in per capita sugar consumption. However, a clearer understanding can be derived from longitudinal studies, based on actual household age-specific sugar consumption and dental caries incidence.
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