OBJECTIVE: The prevalence of dental caries and needs of treatment among schoolchildren in Goiânia-GO, middle-west of Brazil was assessed. METHODOLOGY: The study population consisted of 6-12-yr-old schoolchildren (n=1,400) attending public schools located in the urban area of the city, where the water-supply had been fluoridated for 9 years. RESULTS: Mean dmf-t and DMF-T for the total sample were 2.19 and 2.86, respectively, showing a reduction of 57.1% in the DMF-T as compared to the regional data from the national survey carried out in 1986. At age 12 DMF-T was 4.59, which is above the acceptable level according to the FDI/WHO goal for the year 2000. Percentage of caries-free schoolchildren was very low at all ages (11% of the total sample). The most significant need was for restorative treatment in the treatment deciduous dentition at all ages and in the permanent dentition from age 9. CONCLUSION: It was concluded that the prevalence of dental caries among schoolchildren in Goiânia-GO is high, comparable to the situation in most Latin American countries and poor regions of developed countries. The results indicate the need for oral health education and preventive programs targeted at the underlying causes of the disease, in the population.
Dental caries; DMF index