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Caries Res. 2014;48(3):237-43. doi: 10.1159/000354044. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Childhood oral health and SES predictors of caries in 30-year-olds.

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Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, S.A., Australia.



To assess whether childhood socio-economic status modifies the relationship between childhood caries and young adult oral health.


In 1988-1989, a total of 7,673 South Australian children aged 13 years were sampled, with 4,604 children (60.0%) and 4,476 parents (58.3%) responding. In 2005-2006, 632 baseline study participants responded (43.0% of those traced and living in Adelaide).


Adjusted analyses showed significant interactions for card status by DMFT at age 13 for decayed, missing and filled teeth at age 30, but not for DMFT. Higher DMFT at age 13 was associated with more decayed teeth at age 30 for those with no health card, while there were similar numbers of decayed teeth for card holders regardless of their DMFT at age 13. While higher DMFT at age 13 was associated with more missing teeth at age 30 for card holders, there were similar numbers of missing teeth for those with no card regardless of their DMFT at age 13. The interaction for filled teeth showed that even though higher DMFT at age 13 was associated with more fillings at age 30 for both card holders and those with no card, this relationship was more pronounced for card holders.


SES modified the relationship between child oral health and caries at age 30 years. Card holders at age 13 were worse off in terms of their oral health at age 30 controlling for childhood oral health, supporting social causation explanations for oral health inequalities.

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