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Minerva Stomatologica 2005 October;54(10):541-50

Copyright © 2005 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English, Italian

Caries and adolescents

Guadagni M. G., Cocchi S., Tagariello T., Piana G.


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Aim. The rapid improvement in oral health conditions in childhood and adolescence and the ceaseless bombardment of information from the mass media have, during little more than 30 years, brought about a decrease in the prevalence of caries of more than 70% in most European Union countries. The study aimed to take an accurate picture of oral health conditions and dental prevention habits among adolescents.
Methods. The research was conducted on a group of 340 adolescents (12-16 years) in the province of Bologna (Imola) and used the SPSS to compare clinical and epidemiological parameters with medical-history data traditionally understood to be determinant for caries.
Results. From an analysis of the data it emerged that the mean value of the decay, missing or filled tooth (DMFT) index in the group was 1.8765 ± 2.1987 and that the plaque index (according to Löe and Silness) was 1.2519 ± 0.4213.
Conclusion. Crossing the data obtained, a highly significant correlation emerged (P=0.004) between plaque and caries indexes, and confirmed the primary role of bacterial plaque in causing caries. Unlike what we expected and unlike data reported in the international literature, the caries index was not found to be correlated in a statistically significant way with frequency of brushing, ''preferential consumption of sweet snacks'' (P=0.231) nor ''eating sweets and chewing gum'' (P=0.159) or with taking fluoride tablets (P=0.406).The key to success during adolescence is rooted in childhood; it is the pediatricians' and parents' job to guide and control the acquisition of correct dietary and oral hygiene habits.

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