Changes in the prevalence of dental caries in primary school children in Lagos State, Nigeria
Objectives: To evaluate the changes in the prevalence of dental caries in Lagos State over a 3 years period and the role of age, sex, and playing in the changes observed.
Materials and Methods: Three primary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria were randomly selected for the study. Six hundred and thirty‑three children age 2-12 years, were examined for caries in 2000 while 513 children were examined in 2003. The prevalence of tooth decay and the prevalence of untreated tooth decay were calculated for the two years, that is, 2000 and 2003. Also the degree of unmet treatment need among the population with caries experience was measured. Differences in the prevalence and severity of dental caries in the primary and permanent dentition were assessed.
Results: Approximately 18% of children had untreated tooth decay in their primary dentition in 2003: A 26.1% increase from 2000. About 12.0% of the decay, extracted, and filled teeth (deft) index was seen with decayed teeth in 2000 and 16.6% in 2003. Extracted primary teeth decreased from 2.5% in 2000 to 1.5% in 2003. The change in mean deft between 2000 (0.42) and 2003 (0.47) was 11.9%. Over the study period, the overall reduction in the prevalence of dental caries was 34.8% in the permanent dentition. The decline was larger among children aged 5-9 years (62.1%) and among females (75%).
Conclusion: The study showed no overall changes in caries severity but a decrease in caries prevalence in the permanent dentition over the study period. The largest decline in caries prevalence in the permanent dentition was observed in children aged 5-9 years and females. On the contrary, there was an increase in the caries prevalence in the primary dentition.
Key words: Caries, children, Nigeria, prevalence