Few reports have investigated caries prevalence in rural areas of Brazil. Objective: The aim of this study was to observe the caries prevalence (DMFT, DMFS) in 12-year-old children living in rural villages of Paraíba, Brazil with low and moderate fluoride levels in the drinking water and to relate it to sugar intake and oral hygiene. Methods: One hundred and ninety four children from 13 villages were grouped according to the water fluoride levels: low fluoride (LF, <0.2 ppm F, 96 children) and moderate fluoride (MF, 0.7-1.0 ppm F, 98 children). Caries and oral hygiene (OHI-S) were scored according to WHO criteria. Sugar intake was assessed through interviews. A sub-set of subjects (n=23) from the LF group was re-examined 2 years later. Results: For the LF and MF groups the DMFT (mean, SD) observed was 3.9 (3.7) and 2.5 (2.1) respectively, the DMFS was 9.2 (10.6) and 5.4 (5.7). Both indexes (DMFT, DMFS) showed significant differences (P<0.01, Mann-Whitney U-test) according to the fluoride levels in the drinking water. The mean increment of caries in the sub-set group of subjects was approximately 1.5 surfaces per subject/year. The reported sugar intake was low for both water fluoride groups (P> 0.05). In a regression analysis the water fluoride levels, the use of fluoridated toothpaste and oral hygiene index were related to DMFS (R2= 0.08, P≤0.05). Conclusions: Caries prevalence was lower in MF than in LF rural areas of Paraíba. Caries and sugar intake seems to be lower in rural areas than in urban areas of Paraíba with similar fluoride levels in the drinking water.
- Dental caries
- Developing country
- Oral hygiene
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health