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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Assessment of dental caries predictors in 6-year-old school children - results from 5-year retrospective cohort study

Mohd Masood1*, Norashikin Yusof1, Mohamed Ibrahim Abu Hassan2 and Nasruddin Jaafar34

Author Affiliations

1 Centre of Studies for Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia

2 Centre of Studies for Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia

3 Department of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

4 Community Oral Health Research Group (COHRG), University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:989  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-989

Published: 16 November 2012

Abstract

Background

This was a retrospective cohort study undertaken to assess the rate and pattern of dental caries development in 6-year-old school children followed-up for a period of 5 years, and to identify baseline risk factors that were associated with 5 years caries experience in Malaysian children.

Methods

This 5-years retrospective cohort study comprised primary school children initially aged 6 years in 2004. Caries experience of each child was recorded annually using World Health Organization criteria. The rates of dental caries were recorded in prevalence and incidence density of carious lesions from baseline to final examination. Risk assessment was done to assess relative risk for caries after 5 years in children with baseline caries status. Simple and multiple logistic regression analysis were performed to identify significant independent risk factors for caries.

Results

The sample consisted of 1830 school children. All components of DMFT showed significant differences between baseline and final examination. Filled teeth (FT) component of the DMFT showed the greatest increases. Results revealed the initial baseline caries level in permanent dentition was a strong predictor for future caries after 5 years (RR=3.78, 95% CI=3.48-4.10, P<0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed significant association between caries occurrence and residence (urban/rural) (OR=1.80, P<0.001). However, it was not significantly associated with gender and ethnicity. The incidence density of caries, affected persons (IDp) observed from baseline and after 5 years was 5.80 persons/100 person-year of observation. The rate of new caries-affected tooth (IDt) in the period from baseline and after 5-years was 0.76 teeth/100 teeth-year of observation.

Conclusion

The majority of 12-year-old school children (70%) were caries-free and most of the caries were concentrated in only a small proportion (30%) of them. We found that the presence of caries in permanent teeth at the age of 6 years was a strong predictor of future caries development in this population. The strong evidence of early permanent teeth caries at six years old to predict future caries incidence at 12-year-olds, which could be obtained at almost no cost, questions the need for and cost-effectiveness of expensive technology-based commercial caries predictions kits.