Epidemiology of dental caries among adolescents in Tamil Nadu, India
Economic and dietary changes in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have led to compromised oral health status of the adolescent population. Adequate epidemiological data are not available to address the prevention or treatment needs in this region of India. The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence and severity of dental caries among adolescents of Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India.
The study sample included 974 adolescent school students (12–15 years of age) from both rural and urban areas of Tamil Nadu, India. The decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) index of these students was measured using the World Health Organization oral health survey method, in a quantitative cross-sectional study.
The oral health survey indicated that the prevalence of dental caries among adolescents in rural and urban areas of Tamil Nadu was 61.4%, with an average DMFT score of 2.03. Multiple regression analyses indicated factors such as gender, mother's education, type of school and caste as significant predictors of dental caries.
Female gender, Scheduled Caste and Tribes attending public schools in rural areas were identified as the more vulnerable populations to be affected by dental caries. Oral health policies should be targeted to these adolescent populations in the Tamil Nadu region.