J Korean Acad Oral Health.  2020 Dec;44(4):187-193. 10.11149/jkaoh.2020.44.4.187.

Caries prevalence by risk factor and tooth type using DMFT-related indices

  • 1Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Wonkwang University Daejeon Dental Hospital, Daejeon, Korea
  • 2Wonkwang Bone Regeneration Research Institute, Daejeon, Korea


One of the main causes of tooth loss in Korea is dental caries, a chronic disease affecting individuals of all ages worldwide. The average decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) index, a measure of the caries experience of the population, has been stagnating in Korea for a number of years. The purpose of this study was to investigate the pattern of caries prevalence by tooth type, and to identify the characteristics and risk factors of the specific affected caries (SaC) and significant caries (SiC) groups in Korea’s 12-year-old children. Data were obtained from the 2018 Children’s Oral Health Survey.
Data from a total of 22,303 subjects were included in the study. We grouped the data according to two DMFT-related indices, the SaC index, which includes all subjects who have experienced a carious lesion, and the SiC index, which includes the top one-third of the population by DMFT. We then analyzed the sociodemographic variables and oral health behaviors seen in these groups.
The average DMFT index for all the 12-year-old children was 1.89, and that of those in the SaC and SiC groups was 3.37 and 4.86, respectively. The teeth that were found to be most likely to develop caries were the mandibular and maxillary first molars, and the tooth associated with the highest mean DMFT index was the mandibular first premolar. Among the variables analyzed, perceived oral health status was the most influential variable in the SaC and SiC groups, followed by gender, and then the presence or absence of calculus. Household income was not a statistically significant variable.
The results of this study revealed the characteristics common to 12-year-old children who are vulnerable to caries. This will provide valuable information when planning dental disease management projects.


Dental care for children; Dental caries; Dental health surveys; DMF index; Risk factors; World Health Organization
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