Is dental caries experience increased in HIV-infected children and adolescents? A meta-analysis

Acta Odontol Scand. 2015;73(7):481-7. doi: 10.3109/00016357.2014.958874. Epub 2015 Mar 12.


Objective: To undertake a systematic review to assess if HIV-infected children and adolescents have an increased dental caries experience.

Methods: A search of MEDLINE, BIREME, EMBASE, GOOGLE SCHOLAR, SIGLE (Grey Literature) and reference lists of included studies was carried out. To be eligible the studies had to present HIV-infected and non-infected children/adolescents between 0-18 years old. To assess the methodological quality, the studies were categorized in scores from 'A' to 'C'. To perform a meta-analysis a random effect model was used with 95% confidence intervals and two distinct sub-group analyses were carried out in terms of caries progression: data for cavitated and non-cavitated lesions (sub-group 1) and data only for cavitated lesions (sub-group 2).

Results: Five studies fulfilled the selection criteria. Four studies (two ranked A and two B in the quality assessment) revealed higher caries scores in primary teeth in the HIV-infected patients with mean dmft/dmfs scores of 3.8-4.1/7.8-11.0 compared to the control group 1.5-2.4/3.4-5.1. No differences in caries index were found for permanent dentition. The meta-analysis excluded caries data of permanent teeth and showed a significant association between caries experience in primary dentition and HIV infection considering cavitated and non-cavitated lesions (OR = 2.33, 95% CI = 1.48-3.68) or only cavitated lesions (OR = 2.98, 95% CI = 1.59-5.59).

Conclusion: Evidence exists that suggests HIV-infected children/adolescents have an increased caries experience in primary dentition.

Keywords: HIV infections; child; dental caries.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Tooth, Deciduous / pathology