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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00271

Syria Profile of the Epidemiology and Management of Early Childhood Caries Before and During the Time of Crisis

  • 1Centre for Dental Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Syria has witnessed the greatest humanitarian crisis of forcibly displaced population since World War II. The present review aimed to outline Syria’s profile of the epidemiology and management of early childhood caries (ECC). Before the crisis, the burden of ECC amongst Syrian preschoolers had been growing in prevalence and severity. Comparable data showed an increase in the burden of ECC amongst Syrian children aged five years, rising from 74% in 1991 to 81% in 2011, with a dmft value of 8.6. A similar increase was observed in the burden of ECC amongst Syrian children aged three years, rising from 50% in 1991 to 56% in 2011, with a dmft value of 6.1. Whilst there are no data on the burden of ECC during the current crisis, estimates could be extrapolated from data on the current burden of dental caries amongst Syrian primary school children living inside Syria or in informal settlements outside Syria. Such data suggested that the burden of ECC might have further increased amongst Syrian preschoolers during the crisis time. This is due to the crisis exacerbating effect on ECC risk factors, in terms of increasing the existing high sugar intake amongst Syrian preschoolers as well as increasing different barriers Syrian families face to fresh foods, sugar-free medicines, oral hygiene and fluoride products and accessing essential preventative dental care. Tackling the growing burden of ECC amongst Syrian preschoolers should not be postponed till post crisis time. The seed work for relevant public health interventions could start and be embedded in different health and social initiatives taking place during the time of crisis. A number of public health interventions informed by relevant international and local (Syrian) studies conducted during the time of crisis have been suggested to tackle the burden of ECC amongst Syrian young children. They include a mix of upstream, midstream and downstream interventions that aim to reduce sugar intake, improve feeding and oral hygiene practices, increase access to an appropriate source of fluoride and build the capacity of the Syrian dental and wider workforce to tackle the growing burden of ECC in Syrian preschoolers.

Keywords: Syria, early childhood caries, Oral Health, pubic health interventions, Humanitarian crisis

Received: 30 Apr 2019; Accepted: 09 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Joury. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Easter Joury, Queen Mary University of London, Centre for Dental Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Dentistry, London, United Kingdom, easterjoury@icloud.com