Dental caries and related factors in Brazilian children from fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas
AbstractPurpose: To compare the caries prevalence, saliva buffering capacity (SBC), oral hygiene (OH), dietary habits, family income (FI) and frequency of visits to a dental office (Do) between Brazilian children living in areas with and without fluoridated public water supply. Methods: Forty-six 5-7-year-old preschoolers were selected in Itatiba, SP, Brazil; 19 were from a fluoridated area, and 27 were from a non-fluoridated area. The caries index was determined according to the World Health Organization criteria, and the SBC was assessed by titration with hydrochloric acid. The FI, frequency of OH and visits to Do were estimated by questionnaire. The dietary habits were assessed with a diet chart. The differences between the groups were analyzed with Mann-Whitney-U tests (α=0.05). Results: Children from the non-fluoridated area showed significantly higher dmft/DMFT than those from the fluoridated area, but they showed significantly lower SBC, OH frequency and FI. No significant differences were observed between the areas for dietary habits and visits to Do. Conclusion: Children from fluoridated areas showed higher salivary buffering capacity, family income and oral hygiene frequency as well as lower caries prevalence, supporting the beneficial effect of fluoride in the tap water for caries prevention.
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