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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Changing trend of caries from 1989 to 2004 among 12-year old Sardinian children

Guglielmo Campus1*, Gianluca Sacco1, MariaGrazia Cagetti2 and Silvio Abati2

  • * Corresponding author: Guglielmo Campus

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Dental Institute, University of Sassari, Viale San Pietro 43/c I-07100 Sassari, Italy

2 School of Dentistry, University of Milan, "S.Paolo Hospital" WHO Collaborating Centre of Milan for Epidemiology and Community Dentistry, Via Beldiletto 1 Milano, Italy

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-28

Published: 1 March 2007



During the past decades, the prevalence of caries disease in the population of Western industrialized countries has decreased markedly. In children also, a reduction of dental caries experience has been reported by many authors. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the trend of dental caries prevalence in 12-year-old children living in the city of Sassari, (Italy), by five cross-sectional studies conducted in 1989, 1992, 1995, 1998 and 2004.


In all cohorts, dental caries (DMFT and SiC Index according to WHO indications), was measured. For each variable measured (DMFT and sub-indices, SiC Index), differences in proportions among the five cohorts during the fifteen years were tested using χ2-square test.


The mean DMFT index decreased from 4.3 ± 3.1 in 1989 to 0.8 ± 1.5 in 2004. The prevalence of untreated caries (DT) had a notable decrease between 1992 and 1995, increased slightly between 1995 and 1998 and had the greatest decrease in 2004. The number of filled teeth remains low. The percentage of caries-free children increased from 10% to 64%, whereas the percentage of untreated caries changed from 44% in 1989 to 62% in 2004. SiC Index decreased from 7.8 in 1989 to 3.9 in 2004.


On the basis of the results of DMFT and SiC Index, caries experience has been reduced. The vigilance and the promotion of a higher standard of personal oral hygiene and dental check-ups are necessary to obtain an improvement of oral status in the future adult population and to reach the new WHO global goals.