open access

Vol 63, No 1 (2011)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original articles
Published online: 2011-04-29
Submitted: 2013-02-18
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Oral health of seafarers — a review

Bernhard A.J. Sobotta, Thomas Reiber, Ina Nitschke
International Maritime Health 2011;63(1):8-16.

open access

Vol 63, No 1 (2011)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original articles
Published online: 2011-04-29
Submitted: 2013-02-18

Abstract


Background. Poor oral health of seafarers is known to cause pain and suffering for individuals and logistical complications for shipping companies during voyages. The aim of the study was to discuss the oral health of seafarers against the backdrop of available publications.
Material and methods. A systematic review of all literature listed in PubMed up to August 2010 plus a hand search analysing origin of article, target group, data presented, and recommendations given. Excluded were papers on forensic dental identification and papers on mercy ships.
Results. Most articles deal with oral health issues in the military, are published in English, and originate from the US or Great Britain. Screening systems, organisation of dental services, and the provision of dental treatment ashore and aboard are dominant themes. Papers dealing with the merchant navy, fishing vessels, and cruise ships crews mostly present basic epidemiological data, focus on oral health at sea, and originate from industrialised countries. The growing numbers of cruise ship passengers is the subject of seven studies. Generally, dental care offered to navy crews appears more comprehensive than that offered to civilian crews.
Conclusions. The research base needs to be expanded to cover all seafarers. Dental professional expertise should be sought in policy and guideline development relevant to oral health. A strategy comprising preventive, screening, and treatment service components should be developed and a certificate of dental health introduced. Funding strategies in a complex environment of transnational stakeholders for the improvement of oral-health services for seafarers are needed. Aspects of military oral health care systems could be an example for civilian operators.
(Int Marit Health 2011; 62, 1: 8–16)

Abstract


Background. Poor oral health of seafarers is known to cause pain and suffering for individuals and logistical complications for shipping companies during voyages. The aim of the study was to discuss the oral health of seafarers against the backdrop of available publications.
Material and methods. A systematic review of all literature listed in PubMed up to August 2010 plus a hand search analysing origin of article, target group, data presented, and recommendations given. Excluded were papers on forensic dental identification and papers on mercy ships.
Results. Most articles deal with oral health issues in the military, are published in English, and originate from the US or Great Britain. Screening systems, organisation of dental services, and the provision of dental treatment ashore and aboard are dominant themes. Papers dealing with the merchant navy, fishing vessels, and cruise ships crews mostly present basic epidemiological data, focus on oral health at sea, and originate from industrialised countries. The growing numbers of cruise ship passengers is the subject of seven studies. Generally, dental care offered to navy crews appears more comprehensive than that offered to civilian crews.
Conclusions. The research base needs to be expanded to cover all seafarers. Dental professional expertise should be sought in policy and guideline development relevant to oral health. A strategy comprising preventive, screening, and treatment service components should be developed and a certificate of dental health introduced. Funding strategies in a complex environment of transnational stakeholders for the improvement of oral-health services for seafarers are needed. Aspects of military oral health care systems could be an example for civilian operators.
(Int Marit Health 2011; 62, 1: 8–16)
Get Citation

Keywords

oral health; maritime dentistry; seafarers; prevention; screening

About this article
Title

Oral health of seafarers — a review

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 63, No 1 (2011)

Pages

8-16

Published online

2011-04-29

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2011;63(1):8-16.

Keywords

oral health
maritime dentistry
seafarers
prevention
screening

Authors

Bernhard A.J. Sobotta
Thomas Reiber
Ina Nitschke

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