Oral health status in southern Malawian school children: part I
This survey set out to determine the oral health status in selected schools in the southern region of Malawi. A total of 399 six year olds and 477 twelve year olds were examined during June and July 1990. Male to female ratio was approximately 1: 1. 25 six year olds and 30 twelve year olds were chosen at random in each school. AIl subjects were examined by one of the two examiners. 48% of six year old children had caries-free deciduous teeth. 5% of six year olds had some caries in their permanent teeth and 71% of twelve year olds were free of caries in their permanent dentition. The decayed component was the largest factor in the DMF index in both dentitions. Only 6 subjects were observed to have restorations and of these, five were in urban subjects. Limitations in selection criteria mean that it is not possible to extrapolate these results to describe the oral health status prevailing in urban and semiurban areas of the southern region of Malawi.No difference was noted between the caries and periodontal disease data of male and female subjects. There was a significantly higher prevalence of dental caries in the urban group than in the semi-urban group. There is no difference between the high prevalence of periodontal disease observed in the urban and semi-urban groups in this survey. It will be necessary to develop and implement preventive oral health education programmes in the community and to provide preventive and emergency oral health services that are affordable, accessible and acceptable to the community.