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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Dental plaque, preventive care, and tooth brushing associated with dental caries in primary teeth in schoolchildren ages 6–9 years of Leon, Nicaragua

Miriam del Socorro Herrera, Carlo Eduardo Medina-Solís, Mirna Minaya-Sánchez, América Patricia Pontigo-Loyola, Juan José Villalobos-Rodelo, Horacio Islas-Granillo, Rubén de la Rosa-Santillana, Gerardo Maupomé

Faculty of Dentistry, National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, León, Nicaragua

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:1019-1026

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.884025

Available online:

Published: 2013-11-19

Background: Our study aimed to evaluate the effect of various risk indicators for dental caries on primary teeth of Nicaraguan children (from Leon, Nicaragua) ages 6 to 9, using the negative binomial regression model.
Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out to collect clinical, demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral data from 794 schoolchildren ages 6 to 9 years, randomly selected from 25 schools in the city of León, Nicaragua. Clinical examinations for dental caries (dmft index) were performed by 2 trained and standardized examiners. Socio-demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral data were self-reported using questionnaires. Multivariate negative binomial regression (NBR) analysis was used.
Results: Mean age was 7.49±1.12 years. Boys accounted for 50.1% of the sample. Mean dmft was 3.54±3.13 and caries prevalence (dmft >0) was 77.6%. In the NBR multivariate model (p<0.05), for each year of age, the expected mean dmft decreased by 7.5%. Brushing teeth at least once a day and having received preventive dental care in the last year before data collection were associated with declines in the expected mean dmft by 19.5% and 69.6%, respectively. Presence of dental plaque increased the expected mean dmft by 395.5%.
Conclusions: The proportion of students with caries in this sample was high. We found associations between dental caries in the primary dentition and dental plaque, brushing teeth at least once a day, and having received preventive dental care. To improve oral health, school programs and/or age-appropriate interventions need to be developed based on the specific profile of caries experience and the associated risk indicators.

Keywords: Dental Caries - prevention & control, Cross-Sectional Studies, Child, Dental Plaque - pathology, Nicaragua - epidemiology, Questionnaires, Regression Analysis, Risk Factors, Socioeconomic Factors, Tooth, Deciduous - pathology, Toothbrushing - statistics & numerical data