The aims of this study were to compare the caries risk profiles of children and elderly, the actual annual caries increment and the impact of some selected caries related factors. Another aim was to find out if there were gender differences among the participants. The risk profiles were created by a computerised risk assessment program, the Cariogram, which evaluates data and presents the weighted and summarized result as one figure, illustrating the ‘percent chance of avoiding caries’ in the future. Methods: The Cariogram was earlier evaluated in two longitudinal studies for its capacity to assess caries risk. One study comprised about 400 children, 10-11 years of age and the other study included about 150 elderly (age 55, 65 and 75). At baseline, information on past caries experience, diet, oral hygiene and use of fluoride was obtained. Saliva analyses included mutans streptococci and lactobacilli, buffering capacity and secretion rate. The caries risk was assessed and the participants were divided into five groups according to the calculated Cariogram risk profiles. After two and five years, respectively, caries was re-evaluated and the incidence was compared with the predictions. Results: The Cariogram risk predictions were statistically in agreement with the actual caries increment. Fifty percent of the children, but only two percent of the elderly appeared in the lowest caries risk group. Of the elderly, 26.4% belonged to the highest caries risk group versus 3.1% of the children. The median value ‘chance of avoiding caries’ was 44% for the elderly and 80% for the children. The main Cariogram sectors contributing to the observed higher caries risk among elderly was the bacterial components in combination with higher susceptibility. Individual factors contributing significantly to the higher risk profiles for the adults compared to the children were higher plaque scores, higher counts of mutans streptococci and lower buffering capacity. Conclusion: comparing the risk profiles of the children and the elderly showed that the elderly were at a higher risk developing caries lesions. Overall one may say that the risk for caries, as assessed by the Cariogram, was twice as high for the elderly.
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Klinisk medicin -- Odontologi (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Clinical Medicine -- Dentistry (hsv//eng)