Exploring the views of dentists and dental support staff regarding multiple caries in children

Wayne Richards, Maria Filipponi, Anne-Marie Coll, Jamal Ameen

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This paper explores the reasons for multiple caries in children from the viewpoint of clinical practice, namely General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) and their teams, to identify obstacles to reducing inequalities in caries experience. The context of the research is the distribution of dental caries in UK communities where disease prevalence correlates with deprivation and these sub-groups are not attending for dental care on a regular basis. A focus group of dentists, along with individual interviews with dentists and dental support staff were chosen to explore the perceptions of GDPs, Dental Therapists, and Dental Nurses. The content analysis of the data highlighted six main themes. These included sugar, in terms of the amount, availability and the marketing of it; socioeconomic associations with dental caries experience; the dentists’ role; the National Health Service (NHS) dental contract in terms of time-constraints in meeting targets and finally, the management of the child with multiple caries. This research suggests that there are possible barriers to the delivery of equitable care to populations. These include availability and access to GDPs along with the perceptions held by GDPs. Training aimed to develop a targeted behavioural approach towards deprived sub-groups is required in order to avoid unintended social exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021


  • multiple caries
  • children
  • socioeconomic status
  • inequalities
  • stigmatisation
  • general dentist


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