How Early Dental Visits Can Prevent Cavities- ZonMw Study Results

How Early Dental Visits Can Prevent Cavities- ZonMw Study Results

2023-05-31 16:36:06

Dental care is reimbursed for children up to the age of 18 from the basic insurance and is free for children. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport asked ZonMw to have additional research carried out after it turned out that 41 percent of 5-year-olds already had cavities and many of them did not visit a dentist or dental hygienist until later.


In the so-called GigaGaaf! study, parents who came to the consultation office with their 6-month-old baby were referred to a dentist or dental hygienist. The study examined whether referral by the health clinic has an effect. The collaboration between oral care professionals and consultation agencies took place in North-East Groningen, East Drenthe and certain neighborhoods in The Hague, where a relatively large number of people live with cavities in their teeth.

“At first glance, things seem to be going well with the oral care and oral health of children in the Netherlands,” says ZonMw. For example, 93 percent of school-going children between the ages of 4 and 12 go to the dentist every year. But of children between 0 and 4 years old, only 38 percent visit the dentist annually. And about a quarter of the children in the Netherlands already have cavities at the age of five. The research shows that it is wise to go to the dentist or dental hygienist from the moment the first tooth erupts. During those visits, children can get used to the dentist at a young age. In addition, parents are informed about the importance of oral care.

Fewer holes

More than half of the children referred by the consultation bureau visited a dental care provider. Only 6 percent of the children in the control group visited a dentist or dental hygienist. The children who participated in the study were followed for five years and all had a dental check-up at the age of five. “It turned out that the five-year-old children in the intervention group had about 20 percent fewer early cavities than children in the control group,” reports ZonMw.

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