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Oral Health

Oral Health

Name Oral Health Model
Modelers Mitsue Fujimaki, Josely Emiko Umeda, Renata Corrêa Pascotto, Raquel Sano Suga Terada, Thiago Brito, Ricardo Pietrobon, and Guttenberg Passos
Contact Professor Mitsue Fujimaki,
Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Integrated Dentistry, Universidade Estadual de Maringá – UEM,
Client/Participant State Secretary of Health of Paraná
Client Type Government

The Issue You Tackled

Dental caries is still considered the main pathology to cause tooth loss. It is a chronic disease that can mutilate people for the rest of their lives, negatively affecting their life quality.

According to a national survey conducted in Brazil in 2010, older people aged between 65 and 74 years had already lost most of their teeth. Although dental caries etiological factors and prevention procedures are well known, there seems to be a gap between the evidence found in the recent literature and the actual dental care provided in health services in Brazil.

What You Actually Did

The impact of the preventive approach over time does not seem to have been completely understood. Thus, the main objective of this study was to simulate the impact of educational preventive approaches in the maintenance of teeth throughout the lifetime of people.

System dynamics modeling involves the development of computer simulations based on conceptual interactions of multiple factors and processes of accumulation and feedback. This is a suitable approach for the dynamic complexity that characterizes many public health issues.

The model is a useful tool for policymakers when choosing the most appropriate interventions for their populations. This study used data obtained from the National Oral Health Survey conducted in 2010, and qualitative variables from a recent systematic review and some unpublished studies.

The Results

This model showed that educational preventive care can lead to the adoption of healthy habits by the population to a level of 22% over 1 year, resulting in higher numbers of people with retained teeth and improved life quality. This would likely result in the proportion of adults retaining all of their teeth rising from 25% to 50% over 60 years. This could be accomplished with no more than once a week of oral-health education per child, at a cost of no more than US$ 1,5 per year per child.

Our findings highlight the importance of investments in educational approaches from early childhood to result in an exponential cascade effect for the improvement of the oral health of the Brazilian population.

Related Publications

Understanding why caries is still a public health problem Download
System Dynamics Admins
System Dynamics Admins