AIM: To systematically review longitudinal studies investigating the impact of dental visiting patterns on oral health across the life course.

METHODS: Five databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL) were searched up to March 2023. Results were screened based on eligibility criteria in a two-stage process: title and abstract, and full-text review. A backward search of reference lists and a forward search of citations of the included papers was also conducted. The quality of the included papers was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Key study information was extracted and a narrative synthesis of the findings was performed.

RESULTS: Eleven papers from five longitudinal studies in five countries (Australia, Brazil, China, New Zealand, Sweden) met the inclusion criteria. Studies of moderate to high quality consistently reported that regular dental attendance was associated with having less dental caries experience, fewer missing teeth and better oral health-related quality of life. Inconsistent findings were observed for decayed teeth, and no association was found for periodontal condition.

CONCLUSIONS: This review highlights an association between regular dental visiting pattern and improved oral health, notably less dental caries experience and better oral health-related quality of life. Dental attendance emerges as an important predictor of oral health across the life course, underscoring the importance of routine dental care.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: The PROSPERO registration number is CRD42023396380.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Pages (from-to)18
JournalBDJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2024


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