To facilitate the planning of future dental services, this study sought baseline data, relating to caries experience and
dental attendance, for Somali children resident in Sheffield, UK.
A convenience sample of 4 to 14 year old Somali children
was drawn from pupils attending Somali religious education classes, youth groups and selected schools in Sheffield. During 1998 and
1999, 238 Somali children were subjected to a dental examination and a structured interview.
The mean age of the study
population was 9.4 years with equal male and female distribution. The majority of children (58) had been born in Somalia
compared with 29 in the UK or 13 in another country. Just over half of the sample had English-speaking mothers. The
mean dmft for 4 to 6 year olds was 2.12 and 50 demonstrated a past caries experience. In the 7 to 10 year old group, mean
dmft was 2.05 and caries had again affected 50 of subjects. Mean DMFT for 11 to 14 year olds was 1.37 and 58
showed evidence of previous caries experience. The mother's reported ability to speak English was a strong predictor of caries
experience in the group as a whole. Interestingly, an English-speaking mother was associated with low caries prevalence in young
children, but with high caries prevalence in children over the age of 7 years. Finally, only 57 of subjects had seen a dentist
within the previous 12 months, and almost half of these visits had been prompted because of a specific problem.
evident that some Somali children have a high caries experience, with mother's ability to speak English being the greatest predictor of
dental disease. Preventive strategies need to be developed for this population and regular dental attendance should be
Vol.3 – n.4/2002
Harvard: H. D. Rodd, L. E. Davidson, P. M. Bateman, H. D. Lunn (2002) "Caries experience and dental attendance of Somali children living in a British city", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 3(4), pp210-216. doi:
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