Oral Health Prev Dent - Pre-print articles
Purpose: To determine the caries prevalence and experience in Thuringian infants and to assess their caries risk.
Material and Methods: The subjects were participants in a regional preventive programme, a birth cohort study with the aim of preventing caries. In the first year of life, children were invited to a dental examination at the Jena University Hospital. Dental caries was scored using WHO diagnostic criteria at the d1-level without radiography. Children were categorised as being of low, moderate or high risk for caries according to the caries-risk assessment tool of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
Results: 512 children (mean age 6.7 ± 2.2 months) were examined. 58.2% (n = 298) of all children had teeth (2.21 ± 2.76). Caries prevalence of cavitated carious lesions was 1.7%, and prevalence of non-cavitated carious lesions was 7.7% in children who had teeth. Caries experience was 0.3 ± 1.0 d1-4mfs/0.2 ± 1.5 d3-4mfs (range of 0 to 16). Children with caries were on average 10.8 ± 3.2 months old, while children without caries were 6.6 ± 2.1 months. One hundred sixty-nine children (33.1%) were categorised at high risk for caries, and 98 already had teeth.
Conclusion: Although caries prevalence and experience was relatively low in infants, one third of all children were categorised as being at high caries risk. Early dental visits are necessary to detect the first signs of caries, to assess the caries risk and to establish a dental home with a risk-related recall system. The caries-risk assessment tool (CAT) of the AAPD can assist the clinician in the decision-making process.
Keywords: caries experience, caries prevalence, dental caries, infants, risk factors, susceptibility