A life course approach to assessing causes of dental caries experience: the relationship between biological, behavioural, socio-economic and psychological conditions and caries in adolescents

Caries Res. Sep-Oct 2003;37(5):319-26. doi: 10.1159/000072162.


The objective of this study was to further elucidate the relationship between relevant biological, behavioural, socio-economic and psychological conditions, experienced in very early life and along the life course, and dental caries experience using the life course approach. A two-phase study was carried out in Brazil. In the first phase, 652 13-year-olds were clinically examined and interviewed. In the second phase, 330 families were randomly selected for interview to collect information on the teenagers' early years of life. Clinical assessment included dental caries, periodontal and traumatic dental injury status. The data analysis involved multiple logistic regression analysis. Adolescents born in a non-brick house, those with a low birth weight and those who were the second or later child in the family were statistically significantly more likely to have a high DMF-T. In conclusion, the results of this study show that there is an association between socio-economic and biological factors in very early life and levels of caries in adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Biology
  • Birth Order
  • Birth Weight
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Dental Caries / psychology
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Periodontal Index
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tooth Injuries / classification