Abstract for: Modeling to inform policy on Oral health/Dental caries among adults and elderly in Thailand

Dental caries are a major oral health problem, particularly among developing countries. In Thailand, almost half of the adult and elderly population have at least one untreated dental caries, which can result in debilitating pain that affects work productivity and even the performance of daily activities. However, dental caries experience can be reduced or prevented as the socio-behavioral factors of dental caries are amenable to change. This study aims to develop a simulation model to support the planning of interventions to improve dental caries experience among the Thai population aged 15 and over. A multi-sector system dynamics model was developed to consolidate the relationship between the progression of dental caries experience severity and oral health related behaviors. Three hypothetical policy scenarios were simulated to investigate potential points of intervention to improve oral health within the population. Preliminary results show that both curative and preventive strategies are effective in reducing the progression of the dental caries. In the case of curative strategies, policies that focus on improving dental service utilization have a greater impact on the population with more severe oral conditions. This simulation model can provide policy makers with additional insights to support their oral health policy planning efforts.