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J Contemp Dent Pract. 2008 Mar 1;9(3):24-31.

Caries prevalence, severity, and pattern in preschool children.

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Pediatric Dentistry at King Saud University College of Dentistry in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saludi Arabia. ahwyne@gmail.ocm



To determine caries prevalence, severity, and pattern in preschool children of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


A total of 789 randomly selected preschool children, 379 (48%) male and 410 (52%) female, with mean age of 4.7 (SD 0.5) years were examined for dental caries using World Health Organization (WHO) diagnostic criteria.


The overall caries prevalence among the sample was 74.8%. The mean decayed, missing, and filled (dmft) score was 6.1 (SD 3.9) with a decay component of 4.66, a missing component of 0.54, and a filled component of 0.92. There was no significant difference (p>.05) in caries prevalence and severity in relation to gender of the children. However, the caries prevalence and severity were significantly higher (p<.05) among children from government preschools as compared to those from private preschools. Among the posterior teeth, mandibular second molars (54.3%), and among anterior teeth, maxillary central incisors (27.9%) had the highest caries prevalence. Among the molars, caries prevalence was generally high in lower molars while among the anterior teeth, upper teeth generally had a higher caries prevalence. The majority of the children (50.3%) had both posterior and anterior tooth caries, 42.2% had posterior tooth caries only, while very few (7.5%) children had only anterior tooth caries.


Caries prevalence and severity are very high in the study population, and most children have posterior tooth caries.


Early measures such as fissure sealants, topical fluoride applications (as early as safely possible), and dietary fluoride supplements (where indicated) are needed to prevent caries of deciduous molars in high caries populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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