Caries prevalence, severity, and 3-year increment, and their impact upon New Zealand adolescents' oral-health-related quality of life

J Public Health Dent. Fall 2012;72(4):287-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2012.00336.x. Epub 2012 Apr 16.


Objective: To examine dental caries experience among New Zealand adolescents and determine the nature of caries-associated differences in oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) among adolescents.

Method: Follow-up was conducted of a random sample of 430 children first examined in 2003 at age 13, when they completed the Child Perceptions Questionnaire (CPQ(11-14) ). At age 16, 255 (59.3% of the baseline sample) were re-examined and again completed the CPQ(11-14) .

Results: Caries prevalence (1 + DMFS) rose from 68% to 79.2%; mean DMFS rose from 2.9 (SD 4.7) to 3.6 (SD 4.8), and the prevalence of high caries experience (5 + DMFS) rose from 20.0% to 40.8%. The 3-year mean net caries increment of 0.5 surfaces (SD 2.6) was dominated by occlusal surfaces. At both ages, overall CPQ(11-14 ) scores, as well as emotional well-being subscale scores, were significantly higher for those with DMFS values of 5 or more.

Conclusion: Caries experience increased over the three years; this age group is caries-active. Dental caries affects adolescents' OHRQoL, although not as strongly as maybe expected.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Caries / psychology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Oral Health*
  • Patient Acuity
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires