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SIGN 138 Dental interventions to prevent caries in children

Dental health in Scotland has shown a steady improvement since the 1980s. The proportion of primary one pupils with no obvious dental decay has risen from 42% in 1988 to 73% in 2013. This still means, however, that more than a quarter of Scottish children suffer with a preventable disease and this burden is greatest in those from disadvantaged backgrounds with just 61% of primary one pupils from the most deprived quintile of the population free from obvious decay compared with 82% from the least deprived quintile.

While wider public health and population-based programmes such as the Childsmile programme are important to develop and maintain, there are still marked differences in the use and delivery of preventive approaches in dental practice.

This guideline provides recommendations based on current evidence for best practice in dental interventions to prevent caries in children and young people aged 0-18 years carried out by dental care teams within dental practices in Scotland. The guideline focuses on advice or interventions that are applied at an individual rather than a population level. This does not imply that population-based approaches are not important or not recommended.

This guideline replaces SIGN guideline 47 on preventing dental caries in children at high caries risk and SIGN guideline 83 on prevention and
management of dental decay in the pre-school child.