The aim of this study was to identify factors related to the prevalence of caries in 12-year-old schoolchildren.
A cross-sectional study was carried out using a representative sample (n = 1217) of the population of 12-year-old schoolchildren in Galiza (northwest Spain). Independent variables were measured through a questionnaire, and dependent variables were determined through oral examination. Multiple and logistic regression were applied.
The decayed, missing and filled permanent teeth/decayed, filled primary teeth (DMFT-dft) value in the sample was 1.83 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.67-1.98), the DMFT value was 1.53 (95% CI, 1.37-1.67), and the prevalence of caries was 61% (95% CI, 57.7-64.5). The prevalence of caries was directly related to a low frequency of brushing, greater use of toothpaste, and a higher consumption of sweets. The prevalence of caries was higher in rural than in urban areas. In contrast, the higher the mother's level of education and the greater the subject's knowledge of dental health, the lower the prevalence of caries.
The main goals of dental health programmes should be to achieve quality brushing every day in children, to reduce the consumption of sweets, and to increase knowledge of dental health.