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set standard, permanent teeth, Vanuatu, Oceania, Melanesia
Global patterning and timing of permanent tooth emergence is influenced by ethnicity, with no known timings reported for ethnic Melanesian children living in the tropical archipelago of Vanuatu.
To determine timings of permanent tooth emergence and sequencing for children who reside in rural Vanuatu.
Children aged 4-17 years (n=1026), part of a larger oral health cross-sectional study, were examined recording all permanent teeth present, across four spatially separated islands. Binary logistic modelling established children’s median age of emergence of each permanent tooth for each study area.
The median emergence of first permanent molars for girls is 4.9-years and 5.3 -years for boys. In all locations, children had all permanent teeth emerge by age 11 years (excluding 3rd molars). Clinically important differences exist for permanent tooth emergence by study area.
Permanent teeth emerge earlier for Ni-Vanuatu children compared to both Melanesian children of Papua New Guinea as well as other ethnicities across Oceanic countries. These results can be used as a set standard for Vanuatu. Early tooth emergence suggests oral health education programmes should target pregnant women with clinical preventive strategies commencing for their children before 5-years of age.
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