Identifying the risk factors for poor dental health in young children

Thousands of New Zealand pre-school children each year are requiring extraction of teeth. We want to put a stop to that.

Clinician: Katie Bach, Starship Oral Health Service and Prof. Cameron Grant, General Paediatrics.


What: This study will use information from the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort to identify child characteristics and preceding exposures associated with the risk of early childhood caries and of general anaesthetic tooth extraction.

Who: Growing Up in New Zealand is a longitudinal study tracking the development of approximately 7,000 New Zealand children from before birth until they are young adults.

How: Information about dental and other health, diet, healthcare, families, households and broader influences from the study will be analysed and a case-control comparison will be performed.

Why: With studies showing 40-50% of New Zealand children having early childhood caries, poor dental health is one of the most common causes of potentially avoidable hospitalisations in children. And the consequences of poor dental health in childhood can carry on into adulthood.

The knowledge generated by this study will be critical to changing the current dental health statistics in New Zealand and the high incidence of caries in very young children.