Background: The specific caries experience and caries patterns have not been systematically studied in Taiwan. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of caries patterns and caries levels for children aged 3 through 6 years in the northern Taiwan area.
Methods: Eight hundred fifty-one children were examined and their dentition classified according to five etiology-oriented caries patterns.
Results: The deft was 2.8 for 3-year-olds, 3.2 for 4-year-olds, 3.8 for 5-year-olds, and 3.7 for 6-year-olds. Nearly half the children (44.4%) had the "facial lingual/molar proximal" pattern; this pattern is consistent with bottle caries continuing to the smooth surfaces of molars. Only 15.4% were caries-free.
Conclusion: We interpret the disease to be well established by age 3; prevention programs should thus begin before that age. The influence of bottle caries is interpreted from the high percentage of children with facial-lingual caries by age 3.