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Caries Res. 2002 Sep-Oct;36(5):327-40.

Evaluation of a computer program for caries risk assessment in schoolchildren.

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Department of Cariology, Faculty of Odontology, University of Malmö, Sweden.


The 'Cariogram' is an interactive PC program for caries risk evaluation. It takes into account the interactions between caries-related factors and expresses a graphic assessment of the risk. The aim of this study was to assess the caries risk in schoolchildren using the Cariogram and to evaluate the program by comparing the caries risk assessments with the actual change in DMF. A 2-year prospective study on 446 schoolchildren, 10-11 years old, was conducted. At baseline, data on general health, diet, oral hygiene and use of fluoride were obtained. Saliva analyses included mutans streptococci and lactobacilli counts, buffer capacity and secretion rate. DMFT and DMFS were calculated from records and bitewing radiographs. Scores were entered and caries risk was assessed. Re-examination for caries was done after 2 years. The children were divided into 5 groups according to the assessed caries risk at baseline. Where the Cariogram predicted a 0-20% (high risk), 21-40%, 41-60%, 61-80% and 81-100% (low risk) chance of avoiding new lesions, 8, 35, 42, 73 and 83%, respectively, had no new lesions 2 years later. Logistic regression analyses were carried out. When the Cariogram was included, only two factors, the Cariogram (p < 0.001) and the DMFS at baseline, i.e. past caries experience (p = 0.001), turned out to be significantly associated with caries increment. The Cariogram was the most powerful explanatory variable. When the Cariogram was excluded, lactobacillus count, mutans streptococci, diet intake frequency and DMFS at baseline were significantly associated with caries increment. The Cariogram predicted caries increment more accurately than any included single-factor model. How this finding can be translated into daily practice in the best and most practical way is a matter for future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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