A one-year longitudinal survey was carried out on a sample of the Cordoba City 4-year old kindergarten population (n = 820); so as to determine the role of several variables upon the incidence of caries. The dmf-t, dmf-s, oral hygiene and oral health indexes as well as incidence rates and caries relative risks of caries were inversely related to the socioeconomic level (SEL) of the children involved. Thus in the SEL III (typical proletariat, non-typical proletariat and sub-proletariat) children, the relative risk of caries was almost five times higher (RR = 4.9) than in the SEL I (entrepreneureal and managerial bourgeoisie) childreen. In SEL I, almost all new lesions occurred on smooth surfaces (61.2%), while in SEL III the molar occlusal faces were mainly affected (66.3%). Daily sugar intake was higher in SEL III children but experience of caries showed poor correlation to the amount (r = 0.40) and frequency (r = 0.52) of carbohydrate intake. No significant interlevel differences were observed in the biochemical salivary parameters analyzed. Assisted toothbrushing and fluoride topications strongly lowered the incidence of caries among SEL III children, also making the corresponding rates fall almost to SEL I values (0.31, 0.23 and 0.22 vs. 0.21). In conclusion, SEL III children should be trated prophylactically with effective preventive measures, because of their susceptibility to caries. Such preventive measures include assisted toothbrushing and fluoride topications.
Dental health surveys; Dental caries; epidemiology; DMF index