Worldwide, it is estimated that almost 100% of adults and up to 90% of children suffer from dental caries and its associated impact on quality of life. Despite some success in reducing the prevalence and severity of dental caries in the permanent dentition, in Latin American and Caribbean countries this preventable disease still affects more than half of all children. To address the prevalence of dental caries in the region, the Latin American Oral Health Association (LAOHA) recently hosted the First Regional Consensus on Cariology in Latin American and Caribbean Countries.
On November 10th 2020, the LAOHA presented the First Regional Consensus on Cariology, titled “Dental Caries Prevalence, Prospects and Challenges for Latin American and Caribbean Countries”. Supported by Colgate-Palmolive and the Federación Odontológica Latinoamericana (FOLA), the virtual meeting aimed to facilitate the sharing of challenges, insights and successes from across the region and beyond, with the goal of developing an aligned action plan for the prevention and control of caries.
Panels were based around five scientific articles, presented by 30 authors from 13 different countries. They invited discussion from over 100 oral health leaders and experts from 26 countries, including Chief Dental Officers (CDOs) and representatives of international, regional and national dental associations and organizations.
Chapter 1: Dental caries experience and its impact on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in Latin American and Caribbean countries by Dr. Saul Paiva, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Chapter 2: Risk factors for dental caries in Latin American and Caribbean countries by Dr. Stefania Martignon, El Bosque University, Colombia.
Chapter 3: Community interventions and strategies for caries control in Latin American and Caribbean countries by Dr. Antonio Pedro Ricomini Filho, State University of Campinas, Brazil.
Chapter 4: Management of dental caries lesion in Latin American and Caribbean countries by Dr. Amaury de Jesús Pozos-Guillén, San Luis Potosi University, México.
Chapter 5: Dental caries prevalence, prospects, and challenges for Latin America and Caribbean countries: A summary and final recommendations from a Regional Consensus by Dr. Fabio Sampaio, Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil; Dr. Marcelo Bönecker, University of São Paulo, Brazil; and Dr. Nigel Pitts, King’s College, London.
Dr. Fabio Sampaio, consensus coordinator and Professor at the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil, believes that the event represents an important milestone for cariology, as well as pediatric dentistry and public health. He said:
“I truly believe the first step led us to a better understanding of caries prevalence and etiology in different countries within the region. The initiative helped us further increase our understanding of dental practice potential to face caries and its consequences in years to come in Latin American and Caribbean countries.”
The Consensus is just the beginning of the LAOHA’s ambitious caries control strategy for the Latin American and Caribbean region. Three key steps have been identified to take the action plan forward:
- Publication of the five scientific articles in an international scientific dentistry journal.
- Creation of infographics and other communications materials to share caries prevention messages.
- Development of local activities across the region to promote the recommendations of the Consensus.