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J Dent. 1990 Feb;18(1):37-48.

Factors influencing the caries experience of a group of children at the ages of 11-12 and 15-16 years: results from an ongoing epidemiological survey.

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  • 1Department of Conservative Dentistry, Dental School, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.


An analysis of factors influencing the caries experience of adolescents in South Wales is presented. Approximately 1000 children were assessed for caries status and oral cleanliness in 1980 when aged 11-12 years and again in 1984 when aged 15-16 years. In addition, on both occasions, the children completed detailed questionnaires on dental health-related topics. When aged 11-12 years, the observed mean DMFT, DMFS and DFS scores of the children were 4.0, 6.7 and 5.5 respectively. The corresponding scores at age 15-16 years were 6.5, 11.8 and 10.2. A preliminary analysis using conventional multiple regression techniques revealed that a number of factors had a significant influence on the caries experience of the children. The significance of the factors depended on the sex of the population subgroup, the age of the children and the particular caries index studied. However, at both ages the factors of most significance were the number of erupted teeth, total mean plaque score and the reported amount of money spent on sweets per week. A further evaluation using analysis of covariance with the number of erupted teeth and surfaces as the covariates confirmed the significant influence of the total mean plaque score and amount of money spent on sweets. In addition, both analyses indicated that toothbrushing frequency and social class had a significant influence on the caries experience of boys.

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