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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 484.
Published online 2012 June 26. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-484
PMCID: PMC3487738

Risk indicators of coronal and root caries in Greek middle aged adults and senior citizens



Dental caries is the result of a complex interplay of multiple determinants which may change overtime. Therefore, periodic surveys of caries experience and redetermination of the risk indicators of the disease are needed. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and severity of coronal and root caries in Greeks aged 35-44 and 65-74-year-old in relation to socio-demographic parameters. Furthermore, trends in coronal caries experience of the 35-44-year-olds were investigated.


A sample of 1188 35-44-year-old and 1093 65-74-year-old individuals was selected in 2005 according to WHO guidelines for national pathfinder surveys. Caries was assessed in dentate subjects using the DMFT, DMFS, RDFS and RCI indices. Socio-demographic data were also collected. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify the effect of socio-demographic parameters.


The mean DMFT and DMFS scores of the adults were 14.06 and 45.78 respectively, while those of the senior citizens were 20.63 and 89.82. Among the 35-44-year-ods, men and those having a higher educational attainment had significantly lower DMFS values (women OR = 1.679, CI: 1.243-2.267 and >12 years of education OR = 0.321, CI: 0.193-0.535 respectively), while educational level was the only predictor of DMFS in senior citizens (OR = 0.279, CI: 0.079-0.992). The mean DMFT score of the 35-44-year-olds has not improved since 1985, but there was a remarkable reduction in the number of DT related to a simultaneous increase in the number of FT. The mean RDFS rose from 0.39 in adults to 2.66 in senior citizens. The mean RDFS score of the middle aged adults was significantly correlated with education (OR = 0.346, CI: 0.180-0.664). The RCI was almost four times greater in seniors (9.73) than in adults (2.53). There were significant differences in caries experience between the surveyed regions. MS and RDS were the major components of the DMFS and RDFS indices respectively, in both age groups.


Caries experience in Greek adults is similar to what is observed in most industrialized countries. The mean DMFT score of the 35-44-year-olds has not improved since 1985, but a great improvement in restorative care has been observed. Senior citizens had a high percentage of untreated coronal and root surfaces. Region and education were the strongest predictors of caries experience. An increase in oral care utilization and effective prevention over the whole lifespan are needed to improve the dental health of the Greek adult population.

Keywords: Coronal caries, Root caries, Risk indicators, Middle aged adults, Senior citizens, Multivariate analysis

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