Planning and implementation of community oral health programs for caries management in children

Gen Dent. May-Jun 2012;60(3):210-5; quiz 216-7.


Tooth decay or cavities (dental caries) can have a significant impact on children's quality of life, causing pain, infection, and other problems in the oral environment. Good oral health is a fundamental element of good general health for children, yet dental caries is still prevalent among children in many countries. Dental caries is well-understood, and effective prevention is an attainable goal. Dental professionals should actively engage with communities--in particular, the underprivileged--to identify dental caries problems and implement appropriate and effective community oral health programs (COHPs) to improve oral health and reduce oral health inequalities. This paper discusses COHPs as well as the steps involved in caries prevention for children. These steps cannot ensure the success of every COHP, but they are helpful for developing, integrating, expanding, and enhancing them. The effectiveness of COHPs for the prevention of caries in children varies from country to country, according to cultural, social, economic, and health care settings. Careful consideration of the local situation is required when selecting the elements of COHPs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Community Health Services*
  • Community Networks
  • Dental Care for Children*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Health Plan Implementation*
  • Health Planning*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • United States
  • Vulnerable Populations