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The dental caries experience of 12-year-old children in England and Wales. Surveys coordinated by the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry in 2000/2001

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

N B Pitts, D J Evans, Z J Nugent, C M Pine

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Issue number1
PublishedMar 2002

King's Authors


DESIGN: This paper reports the results of standardised clinical caries examinations of 106,694 twelve-year-old children from England, Wales, the Isle of Man and Jersey. These 2000/01 coordinated surveys are the latest in a series which seek to monitor the dental health of children and to assess the delivery of dental services.

METHOD: The criteria and conventions of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry were used. Representative samples were drawn from participating health authorities and boards, and caries was diagnosed at the caries into dentine (D3) threshold using a visual method without radiography or fibre-optic transillumination.

RESULTS: Once again a wide variation in caries prevalence across the United Kingdom was demonstrated, with mean values for D3MFT for the English 'regions' (of the National Health Service) and Wales ranging from 0.63 in the West Midlands to 1.31 in Wales. The mean value for DMFT across England Wales was 0.89 (D3T=0.39, MT=0.07, FT=0.43). Overall, 38% of children had evidence of caries experience at the dentinal level of detection (D3MFT>0), although the means ranged between 30% (West Midlands) and 51% (Wales). The mean D3MFT for those with disease at this threshold was 2.35. Trends over time demonstrate an improvement of 11% in overall D3MFT since 1996/97, compared to the 15% seen over the previous four year period. FT and care index fell. The number of fillings provided in 2000/01 and thus the care index, remained low. On average across England and Wales, only 48% of the dentinal caries experience identified by survey examinations of permanent teeth was seen as fillings (range in individual districts: 30% to 78%). The use of the SiC index highlights dental health inequalities.

CONCLUSION: Taken together, these findings demonstrate the continuing need for more effective preventive strategies and treatment services for this important age group.

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