This BC Dental Survey of Aboriginal Kindergarten Children report presents survey findings related to the early childhood dental health of Aboriginal children in British Columbia using data from the 2015/2016 B.C. kindergarten dental survey. Since 2009/2010, the oral health of Aboriginal kindergarten children in B.C. has improved at the provincial level. The prevalence of Aboriginal kindergarten children who are caries-free (no visible decay or broken enamel) has increased by 6.4 percentage points, from 39.3% to 45.7%.
In 2015/2016, the percentage of children with treated caries was 15.3 percentage points higher in Aboriginal children (30.5%) than in non-Aboriginal children (15.4%). This difference has increased from 13.4 percentage points in 2009/2010, suggesting that the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children may be widening.
The report notes that early childhood dental health is the result of many interconnected factors. While diet, dental hygiene practices, and access to dental care play an important role, outcomes are also influenced by social determinants of health such as socioeconomic status, food security challenges, geographic location, and other systemic barriers.