Caries experience and treatment needs in a 6- to 12-year-old urban population in relation to socio-economic status

Maria Esther Irigoyen, Gerardo Maupomé, Adriana Marcela Mejía

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Objective: To report caries experience in the permanent dentition among Mexico City elementary school children and undertakes a comparative analysis of dental caries experience and treatment needs of children of different socio-economic status (SES). Research design: SES was established according to an official measure of economic well-being, that of the family income being high enough to allow the child to attend school in a private institution as opposed to a public school. Participants: A probabilistic sample of 4,048 6- to12-year-old children (47.2% females) was examined using the 1987 WHO caries criteria (546 attended private schools and 3,502 were public school children). Results: The proportion of caries-free 12-year-old children was 28.6% and 9.5% in the private and public schools, respectively (P<0.01). In 12-year-old children, DMFT was 2.78 (SD 2.9) and 4.64 (SD 3.2) in the private and public school groups, respectively (P<0.001). Higher treatment needs were found among public schoolchildren (TN=83.0%) compared with private schoolchildren (TN=27.6%) (P<0.001). Conclusions: Dental caries and treatment needs were considerably higher in children of lower SES. Differences in dietary patterns and toothpaste use could be the more likely explanations for these findings, indicating markedly unequal burdens of disease according to socio-economic status. Special efforts should be developed to improve the oral health status in Mexico City children by implementing preventive health promotion and treatment programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-249
Number of pages5
JournalCommunity dental health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Caries
  • Epidemiology
  • Mexico
  • Socio-economic status
  • Treatment needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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