OBJECTIVE: This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the prevalence and experience of dental caries among children from public middle schools in Bucharest in relation to socioeconomic status and access to school-based dental care. METHODS: Clinical data were collected from 1,595 schoolchildren aged 10-17 years, randomly allocated by clusters into a stratified sample population. The dental caries were scored according to the World Health Organization (WHO) clinical criteria and expressed based on tooth and surface levels [Decayed-Missing-Filled Teeth/Surfaces indices (DMFT/DMFS)]. A questionnaire was administered to the children to determine the education level of their parents and their living standard. RESULTS: The caries prevalence was 75 percent, and 64 percent had untreated caries. The mean DMFT value for the entire sample was 2.8, and its highest component was decayed teeth (mean DT 2). Parental education level had the strongest influence on the caries scores; 70 percent of children whose parents had not completed a university degree had untreated caries (%DT) compared to only 49 percent of children whose parents had a higher level of education (P < 0.05). Children with access to school-based dental care had significantly better dental health (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Compared to previous national surveys, the caries rates among schoolchildren in Bucharest are slowly declining. However, there was still a high proportion of untreated caries with a clear socioeconomic gradient, and a change in the school-based oral preventive strategy is needed to meet the needs of the children.
Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 2014, Vol 74, Issue 2, p. 153-8
Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Dental Caries; Female; Humans; Male; Prevalence; Romania