An investigation of the relationship between untreated decayed teeth and dental sepsis in 5-year-old children


Objectives To investigate the prevalence of dental sepsis in 5-year-old children in Scotland and the relationship between sepsis, treated and untreated decayed teeth, oral cleanliness (visible plaque on anterior teeth) and socio-economic deprivation.Subjects and methods Six thousand, nine hundred and ninety-four children of mean age 5.3 years were examined as part of a survey conducted under the Scottish Health Board's Dental Epidemiological Programme. The presence of dental sepsis was recorded, in addition to caries status, and presence of plaque. Postal code information was used to obtain a measure of material deprivation. Relationships between sepsis and its possible contributory factors were explored using stepwise logistic regression.Main results In the whole sample, 4.8% of children examined had dental sepsis, ranging from 2% in the most affluent areas to 11% in the most deprived. Children with sepsis had much higher caries experience (mean dmft 6.30) than those without sepsis (mean dmft 2.36). However, when these factors and the presence of plaque were entered into a logistic regression model to predict presence or absence of dental sepsis, the most important factor was not deprivation, but untreated decay.Conclusions The proportion of children with sepsis increases markedly with caries experience. This disadvantage can be mitigated if more of the caries experience is treated. These findings would not support a policy of non-intervention for deciduous caries if oral sepsis is to be minimised.

DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.4813124
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@article{Pine2006AnIO, title={An investigation of the relationship between untreated decayed teeth and dental sepsis in 5-year-old children}, author={Cynthia M Pine and Rebecca V. Harris and Girvan Burnside and Martyn C W Merrett}, journal={British Dental Journal}, year={2006}, volume={200}, pages={45-47} }