Title: The efficacy of Italian guidelines in promoting oral health in children and adolescents
Abstract: Aim The purpose of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of the guidelines on oral health published by the Italian Health Ministry.
Materials and methods Study Design: 1239 patients (582 girls and 657 boys) with a mean age of 4.46 (SD 2.81) years were evaluated before application of the guidelines by paediatricians (T0) for the presence of caries, gingivitis, diseases of the oral mucosa, and malocclusion. Only patients aged 6 months, 3 years, 6 years, and 9 years at T0 were taken into consideration. All patients were reevaluated after application of the ministerial guidelines (T1). Methods: the study took place over a 3-year period. Enrolled patients referred to the outpatient clinics of three paediatricians of the Province of Genoa who strictly applied the ministerial guidelines. Statistics: χ2 test analysis was performed to evaluate a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of caries, gingivitis and diseases of the oral mucosa.
Results After a 3-year follow-up collected data underlined a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of dental caries, gingivitis and oral mucosal diseases after implementation of the recommended ministerial guidelines. A statistically significant decrease of malocclusions was also evident in the elder patients (12 years old at T1).
Conclusion The accurate implementation of the Guidelines is supported. Only collaboration and increased synergy between paedodontists and paediatricians can fulfill the objectives which were the reason for publishing the “National guidelines for the promotion of oral health and the prevention of oral diseases in developmental age”.