Inequalities in the dental health needs and access to dental services among looked after children in Scotland: a population data linkage study

McMahon, A. D. et al. (2018) Inequalities in the dental health needs and access to dental services among looked after children in Scotland: a population data linkage study. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 103(1), pp. 39-43. (doi:10.1136/archdischild-2016-312389) (PMID:28855231)

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Abstract

Background: There is limited evidence on the health needs and service access among children and young people who are looked after by the state. The aim of this study was to compare dental treatment needs and access to dental services (as an exemplar of wider health and well-being concerns) among children and young people who are looked after with the general child population. Methods: Population data linkage study utilising national datasets of social work referrals for ‘looked after’ placements, the Scottish census of children in local authority schools, and national health service’s dental health and service datasets. Results: 633 204 children in publicly funded schools in Scotland during the academic year 2011/2012, of whom 10 927 (1.7%) were known to be looked after during that or a previous year (from 2007–2008). The children in the looked after children (LAC) group were more likely to have urgent dental treatment need at 5 years of age: 23%vs10% (n=209/16533), adjusted (for age, sex and area socioeconomic deprivation) OR 2.65 (95% CI 2.30 to 3.05); were less likely to attend a dentist regularly: 51%vs63% (n=5519/388934), 0.55 (0.53 to 0.58) and more likely to have teeth extracted under general anaesthesia: 9%vs5% (n=967/30253), 1.91 (1.78 to 2.04). Conclusions: LAC are more likely to have dental treatment needs and less likely to access dental services even when accounting for sociodemographic factors. Greater efforts are required to integrate child social and healthcare for LAC and to develop preventive care pathways on entering and throughout their time in the care system.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macpherson, Professor Lorna and McMahon, Dr Alex and Conway, Professor David and Sharpe, Mrs Katharine
Authors: McMahon, A. D., Elliott, L., Macpherson, L. M.D., Sharpe, K. H., Connelly, G., Milligan, I., Wilson, P., Clark, D., King, A., Wood, R., and Conway, D. I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:Archives of Disease in Childhood
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0003-9888
ISSN (Online):1468-2044
Published Online:30 August 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Archives of Disease in Childhood 103(1): 39-43
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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