Prevalence and Risk Indicators for Root Caries in Non-Institutionalized Older Adults U.S. Population, 1988-1994




Rivera Torres, Angel


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Rivera Torres, Angel D.D.S., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., Prevalence and Risk Indicators for Root Caries in Non-Institutionalized Older Adults U.S. Population, 1988-1994. Doctor of Philosophy (Biomedical Sciences), May 2000, 139 pp., 17 tables, 1 illustration, bibliography, 132 titles. Background. Dental caries and periodontal disease are prevalent in the elderly population; the progressive consequences of these have physical, economic, social, and psychological implications for long term care. This study reports on associated risk indicators for root caries in a population-based sample of non-institutionalized older adults of diverse race/ethnic groups and age cohorts. Methods. Data were analyzed from 3.313 non-institutionalized U.S. adults 65 years of age and over, who had been surveyed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, III 1988-94 (NHANES III) and who had completed the dental examination. Descriptive and multivariate statistics were used to compare older adults with and without root caries. Logistic regression analyses was utilized in this study to identify predictors for root caries. Results. The mean number of teeth in this population was 21, with an average prevalence of root decayed, filled surfaces (RDFs) of 2.17. The prevalence as measured by the root caries index (RCI) was 39.07 and the ratio RDs/RDFs was 70%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that African-American males (O.R.1.55;C.I.1.30-1.84) or Mexican-American males (O.R.3.18;C.I.2.56-3.94) with a level of education less than 8 years (O.R.1.50;C.I.1.25-1.81) living below poverty level (O.R.1.60;C.I.1.33-1.93) were most likely to have root caries. Smoking (O.R.1.70;C.I.1.41-2.04), previous root caries experience (O.R.1.61;C.I.1.15-1.68), wearing a partial denture (O.R.1.78;C.I.1.38-2.29), having 14 teeth of less (O.R.1.42;C.I.1.15-1.76) and consuming starchy (O.R.1.52;C.I.1.26-1.83) and liquid sugar snacks (O.R.1.75;C.I. 1.44-2.11) were also indicators of an increased risk for root caries. Conclusions. These findings suggest that Caucasians had less risk of root caries than African-American and Mexican-Americans and that poor periodontal status (O.R.3.29; C.I. 2.39-4.52) increased the risk of root caries. Additionally, older adults in the U.S. population have a great need for dental treatment. Additional epidemiologic studies are needed and should focus on those social and behavioral factors that put individuals at risk for developing root caries.