Status of dental caries and associated factors in Tibetan adults: findings from the fourth China National Oral Health Survey.

Research paper by Lingxia L Guan, Jing J Guo, Jinghao J Ban, Gang G Li, Juan J Tong, Aiyun A Chuan, Tian T Tian, Bing B Han, Kun K Xuan, Shengchao S Wang

Indexed on: 08 Sep '20Published on: 08 Sep '20Published in: BMC Oral Health


Tibet, a region where average elevation is above 3500 m and socio-economic development is relatively lower, was not included in National Oral Health Survey over decades. The cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the status of dental caries and associated factors in Tibetan adults. Participants aged 35-44, 55-64 and 65-74 years were selected. Decayed, missing, and filled tooth (DMFT), decayed and filled root (DF-Root) and root canal index (RCI) were used to evaluate dental caries. Questionnaire survey on demographic information, socioeconomic status, dietary habits, and oral health knowledge and behavior was conducted. Mann-Whitney U test, logistic regression were used for the statistical analyses. A total of 446 participants were enrolled in the survey. Of these: 222 (49.8%) were females, 224 (50.2%) were males; 149 (33.4%), 151 (33.9%), 146 (32.7%) were aged 35-44, 55-64 and 65-74 years respectively. The mean DMFT (SD) was 7.62 (4.84), 12.46 (8.16), and 21.38 (8.93). The filling rate was very low in all age groups (1.77%, 0.98%, 0.45%). The mean DF-Root (SD) was 0.50 (1.04), 1.04 (2.02), 1.32 (2.14), respectively. Root caries index was 42.27, 44.78 and 57.60%. Older age (65-74 age group) was positively associated with crown caries (odds ratio = 31.20, 95% confidence interval: 10.70-90.96). College degree and above and brushing teeth at least once a day were negatively associated with crown caries (odds ratio = 0.28, 95% confidence interval: 0.09-0.89; odds ratio = 0.39, 95% confidence interval: 0.21-0.72, respectively). Rural area, high income level and brushing teeth at least once a day were negatively and tooth with attachment loss was positively associated with root caries. The status of dental caries in the adults in Tibet is severe and the treatment rate is very low. The study suggests a correlation between crown caries and the variables age, level of education and frequency of tooth brushing; correlation between root caries and residence, income level, frequency of tooth brushing and exposed root surfaces. These findings could be as reference to develop community based interventions to reduce the prevalence of caries in Tibet.

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