Early childhood caries, climate change and the sustainable development goal 13: a scoping review

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Foláyan, Morẹ́nikẹ́ O.
Schroth, Robert J.
Abodunrin, Olunike
Al-Batayneh, Ola B.
Arheiam, Arheiam
Mfolo, Tshepiso
Virtanen, Jorma I.
Duangthip, Duangporn
Feldens, Carlos A.
El Tantawi, Maha
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Abstract Background Sustainable development goal 13 centres on calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. The aim of this scoping review was to map the published literature for existing evidence on the association between the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 and early childhood caries (ECC). Methods The scoping review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. In August 2023, a search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus using search terms related to SDG13 and ECC. Only English language publications were extracted. There was no restriction on the type of publications included in the study. A summary of studies that met the inclusion criteria was conducted highlighting the countries where the studies were conducted, the study designs employed, the journals (dental/non-dental) in which the studies were published, and the findings. In addition, the SDG13 indicators to which the study findings were linked was reported. Results The initial search yielded 113 potential publications. After removing 57 duplicated papers, 56 publications underwent title and abstract screening, and two studies went through full paper review. Four additional papers were identified from websites and searching the references of the included studies. Two of the six retrieved articles were from India, and one was China, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom respectively. One paper was based on an intervention simulation study, two reported findings from archeologic populations and three papers that were commentaries/opinions. In addition, four studies were linked to SDG 13.1 and they suggested an increased risk for caries with climate change. Two studies were linked to SDG 13.2 and they suggested that the practice of pediatric dentistry contributes negatively to environmental degradation. One study provided evidence on caries prevention management strategies in children that can reduce environmental degradation. Conclusion The evidence on the links between SDG13 and ECC suggests that climate change may increase the risk for caries, and the management of ECC may increase environmental degradation. However, there are caries prevention strategies that can reduce the negative impact of ECC management on the environment. Context specific and inter-disciplinary research is needed to generate evidence for mitigating the negative bidirectional relationships between SDG13 and ECC.
BMC Oral Health. 2024 May 03;24(1):524