Health-risk behaviours co-occur among children with untreated caries

Nastaran Nouraei, Wael Sabbah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine whether an aggregate of health risk behaviours is associated with the number of untreated dental caries among 12- and 15-year-old children in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Materials and Methods: Data were from the Children's Dental Health Survey (CDHS) 2013, a nationally representative sample of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The survey included assessment of oral health and data on socioeconomic, demographic and behavioural factors pertaining to children aged 12–15 years. Tooth condition (decayed, missing and filled) was assessed by NHS dentists. The survey included questions on age, sex, country, index of multiple deprivation, smoking, alcohol consumption, frequent sugar consumption and sweetened sodas, infrequent dental visit, infrequent toothbrushing and infrequent consumption of fresh fruits. Health risk behaviours were summed up to create an aggregate variable of health risk behaviour. The association between number of untreated caries and the aggregate of health risk behaviours was assessed using negative binomial regression and adjusting for age, sex, country and deprivation. Results: The total number of children included in the analysis was 4414. The mean number of untreated caries was generally higher among children with health risk behaviours. The aggregate of risk behaviour was associated with greater prevalence of untreated dental caries with rate ratio (RR) 1.26 (95% confidence interval: 1.18, 1.36). Conclusion: This study demonstrated an association between an aggregate of health risk behaviours and untreated caries. The findings highlight the importance of addressing multiple risk factors not only those directly related to dental caries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Dental Hygiene
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • child
  • dental caries
  • health-risk behaviours
  • United Kingdom


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