Early childhood caries (ECC) is a non-communicable disease of public health, affecting more than 530 million children globally. It is also a disease of inequality with heavier burdens in lower-income countries and children with lower socioeconomic status. The drivers of inequality are structural. Most proposals and interventions for the control of ECC have been largely limited to individual and family interventions. Implementing research to describe how community actions can reduce the risk for ECC are very few. Ecological studies suggest that macro-level factors also have an impact on the risk of ECC. In effect, governments of nations and global actors need to do more to reduce ECC risk. They can do more if we continue to show evidence on ‘why’ and ‘how.’ Hopefully, these strategic approaches to generate evidence to drive a collective global response for ECC can help us reach a point in history where we can start to think of eliminating ECC. ECC's significant impact on the growth and development of children and the quality of life and well-being of affected children and their caregivers makes the elimination of ECC a worthy target to pursue.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs are the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and are described as “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs address global challenges including hunger, poverty, climate action, and inequality (among others) and serve as an urgent call for action to ensure peace and prosperity globally. It is therefore essential that ECC is discussed through the lens of the SDGs. In promoting discourse surrounding large-scale issues, such as poverty, the scientific community is enabled to share a more comprehensive image of the determinants of ECC and thus how we can better manage the disease.
The third volume of this Research Topic welcomes research articles that generate and highlight country-level information on ECC with a special focus on Sustainable Development Goals. This includes manuscripts that report updated information on epidemiological profiles of ECC for specific countries, communities, or populations; assessment of the impact on national policies and programs on ECC control; effectiveness of clinical programs for ECC control; systematic review and meta-analysis of data on ECC; best practices and lessons learned for ECC management and scale-up during a health crisis.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
● Sustainable development goal and ECC
●Systematic review and meta-analysis of ECC risk factors, prevention, and management
● Epidemiological profiles of ECC for countries with little or no public data
● Sustainable development goals and ending ECC as a public health crisis
● ECC and its impact on growth, development, social, mental health, and well-being
● Possible interventions unitizing common risk factors for ECC and general health
● Effectiveness of clinical and community-based multi-disciplinary approaches to ECC control
● Conceptual frameworks on pathways linking ECC with adolescent health and well-being
Volume I of this Research Topic can be found here: Country Profile of the Epidemiology and Clinical Management of Early Childhood Caries
Volume II of this Research Topic can be found here: Country Profile of the Epidemiology and Clinical Management of Early Childhood Caries, Volume II