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Surveillance Comparisons: Canada and Costa Rica

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is the organization that monitors the oral health of the Americas. One of the main tools they have used to do that since the 1990s is the DMFT score. This standardized score provides an easy way to measure and compare oral health of all countries in the Americas. Additionally, it provides a way to group and organize countries into groups based on DMFT scores. The two countries I will be examining are Canada and Costa Rica. According to PAHO, Costa Rica was a growth country in 1996 with a DMFT of 3-5 while Canada was a consolidation country with a DMFT<3 (Pan American, 2006). By 2005, both countries were classified in the consolidation group (Pan American, 2006). Costa Rica is a country of roughly 4.5 million inhabitants with 64% of them living in urban areas and 36% of them living in rural areas (Pan American, 2012). When looking at the oral health of 12 year olds in Costa Rica, roughly 72% are affected with dental caries with an average DMFT score of 2.5 (Solorzano). While the number of affected individuals is very high, the average DMFT for 12 year
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When looking at the caries prevalence among children of 12 years, approximately 38.7 % are affected and they have an average DMFT value of 1.0 as of 2009 (“On the Findings”). This low DMFT score was not always the case however, in 1983, children of 12 years had a DMFT of 4.4 (Brodeur). In 1989 it was 3.1 and in 1996 it was 2.1. The steady decrease in caries prevalence can be partly attributed to the fluoridation program implemented. By the year 2005, roughly 43% of the country was exposed to fluoridated water making it one of the most fluoridated countries in the world

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