Caries Preventive Interventions and Oral Health Inequalities: A Scoping Review

Agatha van Lunteren*, Yueyue You, Hein Raat, Eppo Wolvius, Lea Kragt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Dental caries remains one of the most prevalent but preventable diseases among children worldwide and especially affects children with a lower socioeconomic status or ethnic minority background. It is important that all groups of children are reached by preventive interventions to reduce oral health inequalities. So far, it is unknown whether children from different social and ethnic groups benefit equally from potentially effective oral health interventions. Objectives: This scoping review aimed to identify European public health interventions that report their effect on dental caries across different social groups. Methods: Four databases were searched for studies evaluating the effect of oral health interventions on dental caries among children from 0 to 12 y, and studies were included when results were presented by children of different social groups separately. Results: A total of 14 studies were included, representing 4 different countries: 3 randomized and 11 nonrandomized studies. Most studies were performed at schools. Six studies showed results indicative of a reduction in oral health inequalities, 4 studies showed results that potentially widen oral health inequalities, and 5 studies showed results that were indicative of no impact on oral health inequalities. Interventions that contain early approaches, with a high frequency, approaching multiple levels of influence, and including at least the broader organizational or public policy level, may have the potential to reduce oral health inequalities among children from birth to young adolescence. Conclusion: We recommend researchers to perform high-quality intervention studies and to evaluate the effectiveness of oral health intervention always in different socioeconomic or ethnic groups separately, to better understand their contribution toward oral health (in)equalities. Knowledge Transfer Statement: This review offers insight in the differential effects that oral health interventions might have across different social groups. Its results can be used to develop interventions that might reduce oral health inequalities among children. Also, we recommend future researchers to always evaluate the effects of any preventive oral health measure in different social groups separately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalJDR Clinical and Translational Research
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© International Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research and American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research 2022.


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