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Int J Paediatr Dent. 2009 May;19(3):186-92.

Clinical, salivary, and bacterial markers for caries risk assessment in schoolchildren: a 4-year follow-up.

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Area for Research in Clinical Sciences, Health Care Department, Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico.



In Mexico, there is a high prevalence of dental caries and large groups of children still show extensive untreated dental damage.


This study aims to evaluate, in a cohort of 6-year-old Mexican children, the relationship between caries increment at 4 years and the following caries risk markers: fissure morphology, caries experience, salivary flow rate, Snyder test results, and mutans and lactobacilli counts.


To predict new caries lesions in 110 schoolchildren, clinical, salivary, and bacteriological caries risk markers were used, including fissure morphology, caries experience, salivary flow rate, Snyder test, and Streptococcus mutans and lactobacilli counts. To determine the validity of these markers, the baseline data were compared with the caries increment after 4 years.


The risk model's capacity to predict caries was moderate (specificity 79.6% and sensitivity 78.6%). Caries experience (P = 0.0001), Snyder test (P = 0.002), and fissure morphology (P = 0.024) had the strongest association with caries increment. Salivary flow rate, lactobacilli, and S. mutans counts did not contribute significantly to the prediction of caries lesions in these children.


In addition to the initial caries experience, tooth morphology and Snyder test proved to be useful predictors for caries. These three risk markers may be particularly useful in targeting caries prevention efforts in developing countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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