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Tooth decay rate drops in China
2006-10-06 02:06:38 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Tooth decay rate has been dropping significantly among Chinese children in the past 15 years, indicating improving dental health, an expert said Friday.

The milk tooth decay rate dropped by 20 percent this year from 1991 among children aged between seven to 12 in cities, show figures provided by Ji Chengye, medical professor with the renowned Beijing University.

But sugar consumption among urban school children had increased by 1.6 times.

"This rise and fall was contributed to promotion of fluoride toothpaste, an improved school dental healthcare system and dental health awareness campaigns," said Ji.

The incidence of milk tooth decay in rural regions also dropped, but slower, he said, because of the weak rural health system and dental health services.

In 1991, rural areas had one dentist per 140,000 residents. Slow progress had been made, indicated by surveys of the Ministry of Education in 1991, 1995 and 2001.

Ji said updated figures on the dental health of primary and middle school children had been collected and would be released soon by the ministry.

He suggested prevention of tooth decay be advanced to kindergartens as children are growing faster because of improved living standards.

Meanwhile, education on dental health should be enhanced in schools so as to introduce children to good habits, Ji said. Enditem

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