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Pediatr Dent. 2005 Jan-Feb;27(1):54-60.

Prevalence of noncavitated and cavitated carious lesions in 5-year-old head start schoolchildren in Alachua County, Florida.

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Department of Operative Dentistry, Division of Public Health Services and Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.



The diagnosis of early carious lesions is essential for nonsurgical management of dental caries. This report describes the prevalence of early noncavitated and cavitated carious lesions in the primary dentition of 5-year-old Head Start schoolchildren in Alachua, Fla.


As part of the Fluoride Varnish Study conducted at the University of Florida, modified caries diagnostic criteria-which differentiated caries lesion activity and severity-were developed for the primary teeth. Dental examinations were conducted on 221 children ages 5 years by 2 calibrated examiners.


Overall, 86% of the children had experienced noncavitated or cavitated caries lesions in the primary dentition. Prevalence of cavitated dentinal lesions was 48%, and prevalence of active noncavitated enamel lesions was 71%. The mean number of active noncavitated enamel lesions (mean +/- SEM: 2.91 +/- 0.21) was slightly higher than the mean number of cavitated dentinal lesions (2.52 +/- 0.31). The mean number of restored surfaces was 1.24 (+/- 0.42), and only 8% of the children had 1 or more restored surfaces. Noncavitated lesions were most common on occlusal surfaces, especially in mandibular second molars. African-American children had a higher prevalence of noncavitated lesions (81%) than whites (69%) or others (33%; P<.0001). Prevalence of cavitated lesions was 49% for African Americans, 46% for whites, and 48% for others.


This study shows that noncavitated enamel and cavitated dentinal lesions are common in this study population's primary dentition. There is a need for preventive measures and treatment of decay in these children living in low-income families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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