80 percent of 5-year-olds suffer from tooth decay


TAIPEI — Nearly 80 percent of five-year-old children in Taiwan suffer from tooth decay, higher than the 50 percent goal set by the World Health Organization, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said yesterday.

The HPA said the prevalence of tooth decay among 5-year-olds in Taiwan is 79.3 percent, and the decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) index for 12-year-olds is 2.5 teeth, higher than the global average of 1.67 teeth, the HPA said, citing statistics.

The figures indicate Taiwan has plenty of room for improvement in preventing cavities among children, it said.

HPA Director General Chiou Shu-ti suggested that parents give children fewer sweets or sugary beverages as snacks or rewards and have their children brush their teeth at least twice daily.

She also advised using toothpaste with fluoride and having children get their teeth cleaned and have fluoride varnish applied by a dentist once every six months.