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The dental caries experience of 14-year-old children in the United Kingdom. Surveys coordinated by the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry in 1998/99

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

N B Pitts, D J Evans, Z J Nugent

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Issue number1
PublishedMar 2000

King's Authors


DESIGN: This paper reports the results of standardised clinical caries examinations of 121.550 14-year-old children from across the United Kingdom, Jersey and the Isle of Man. These 1998/99 coordinated surveys are the latest in a series which seeks 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 fibreoptic transillumination.

RESULTS: These demonstrated, once again, a wide variation in prevalence across the United Kingdom, with mean values for D3MFT for the current English regional offices (of the National Health Service) and the other UK countries ranging from 1.17 in West Midlands to 3.65 in Northern Ireland. The mean value for D3MFT across the United Kingdom was 1.76 (D3T=0.59, MT=0.15, FT=1.02). Overall, 54% of children had evidence of caries experience at the dentinal level (D3MFT>0), although the means ranged between 43% (South East) and 78% (Northern Ireland). The mean D3MFT for those with disease at this threshold was 3.24. Trends over time demonstrate an improvement of 10% in overall D3MFT for Great Britain since 1994/95, compared to the 21% seen over the previous four year period. Over recent years the overall trend in this age group seems to be towards lower values. However, there has been no improvement in mean MT since 1994/95, while FT and care index have fallen. The number of fillings provided in 1998/99 and thus the care index, remains low, on average across the UK, only 58% of the dentinal caries experience identified by survey examinations of permanent teeth was seen as fillings (range in individual districts and boards: 34% to 83%).

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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