Objectives: In KSA, numerous studies are conducted to measure the prevalence of dental caries. However, the prevalence of dental caries varies in KSA. This systematic review aims to improve the understanding of the prevalence of dental caries among adults and children residing in KSA.

Methods: Online databases of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched. The Saudi Dental Journal was hand-searched. Study selection and data extraction were conducted in duplicate. The studies on dental caries in the Saudi population were included. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) was used to assess the quality of the selected studies. Finally, a narrative synthesis was conducted.

Results: Forty-nine cross-sectional studies were identified. Areas of weakness in study design/conduct were low response rates, reliable outcome measurement, and identification and handling of confounding factors. Statistical pooling of data was not appropriate due to substantial heterogeneity, also in part to a variation in geographical location and the target population. Twenty-nine studies presented data for primary dentition. The proportion of dental caries among primary teeth ranged from 0.21 to 1.00. Eighteen studies presented data for permanent dentition. The proportion of dental caries across permanent teeth ranged from 0.05 to 0.99.

Conclusions: In general, the methodological quality of the included studies was poor. Dental caries proportion level ranged from 0.05 to 0.99 in permanent teeth, and 0.21 to 1.00 across primary teeth. The available data does not provide a complete assessment of dental caries across KSA. Existing studies are limited in terms of the populations studied for dental caries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-656
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Taibah University Medical Sciences
Issue number5
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Dental caries
  • KSA
  • Permanent teeth
  • Prevalence
  • Primary dentition


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