Dental Caries in School-Age Children Residing in Five Guatemalan Communities

Luis Archila, Robert D. Bartizek, Robert W. Gerlach, Steven A. Jacobs, Aaron R. Biesbrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Objective: The caries epidemiology within the country of Guatemala is poorly understood. This work reports the cross-sectional prevalence of caries in the permanent teeth of children between the ages of 6 and 12 years in five different communities within Guatemala, and relates the caries experience to the fluoride levels in the communal drinking water in each of these cities. Methodology: These cities were selected because they represent geographically distinct regions of Guatemala, where there is no fluoridation of public drinking water. A total of 1,145 children were enrolled and examined in this study, with 227, 230, 231, 228 and 229 enrolled at Coban, Solola, Guatemala City, Chiquimula, and Estanzuela, respectively. Caries examinations were performed by a calibrated examiner using a visual tactile examination method performed with the aid of an artificial light, mouth mirror, compressed air, and a dental explorer employing a modified Radike criteria. Fluoride concentrations from drinking water, collected from the primary drinking water spigot at each elementary school in each city, were determined using ion chromatography. Results: The cross-sectional mean DMFS in children 6-8 years old was 4.61, 4.34, 3.75, 3.52 and 2.71 for Coban, Solola, Guatemala City, Chiquimula, and Estanzuela, respectively. The cross-sectional mean DMFS in children 9-12 years old was 10.96, 10.09, 8.67, 8.71 and 6.02 for Coban, Solola, Guatemala City, Chiquimula, and Estanzuela, respectively. The prevalence of caries in children between the ages of 9 and 12 years was greater than 90% in all five cities. The natural fluoride concentration in water was 0.05 ppm, 0.23 ppm, 0.14 ppm, 0.50 ppm, and 0.60 ppm for Coban, Solola, Guatemala City, Chiquimula, and Estanzuela, respectively. Conclusion: Collectively, these data demonstrate that the high prevalence of caries in Guatemala appears to be directly correlated to levels of fluoride in the community drinking water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Dentistry
Volume14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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Archila, L., Bartizek, R. D., Gerlach, R. W., Jacobs, S. A., & Biesbrock, A. R. (2003). Dental Caries in School-Age Children Residing in Five Guatemalan Communities. Journal of Clinical Dentistry, 14(3), 53-58.