Thirty years of evolution of oral health behaviours and dental caries in urban and rural areas in Poland

Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Medical University of Łódź, Poland
Department of Public Health Collegium Mazovia in Siedlce, Poland
Department of Health Care Policy and Medical Standards, Medical University of Łódź, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2014;21(3):557–561
[b]Introduction and objective[/b]. 34 years ago, children living in rural areas had almost 2 more teeth affected by decay than those living in cities. Environmental differences are being reduced along with Poland’s civilization development. The aim of the study is to assess the extent to which the differences in the intensity of caries and oral health behaviours between the urban rural environment have been reduced have been reduced in the past 3 decades. [b]Materials and methods[/b]. The data from 9 national surveys of 14,338 children aged 12 years and 5,425 adults aged 35–44 who lived in the city and in the countryside were analysed. Mean number of decayed (D), missing (M) and filled (F) teeth (DMFT) was determined during the examination, as well as oral health behaviours. [b]Results[/b]. During the past 3 decades, in the statistical 12-year-old Polish child, tooth decay has been reduced from 7.3 to 3.6 teeth, and the environmental difference between the town and village children is now almost 5 times smaller. A similar trend is observed in children’s dental behaviours. Improving the oral health status and levelling of the environmental differences in the population aged 35–44 is much slower than in children. [b]Conclusions[/b]. In the last three decades, the level of tooth decay has been reduced by half, but it is still 3 times higher than in other European countries. Environmental differences have been reduced particularly in children. Both the oral health status and urban/rural environment differences in the intensity of tooth decay may be regarded as one of the many measures of Poland’s social and civilization development. However, the analysed process is not monotonic; instead, it has some turning points.