European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 167–173 | Cite as

Caries increment in primary teeth from 3 to 6 years of age: a longitudinal study in Swedish children

  • A.-C. André Kramer
  • M. S. Skeie
  • A. B. Skaare
  • I. Espelid
  • A.-L. ÖstbergEmail author
Original Article



To longitudinally follow and analyse caries prevalence and development in primary dentition in Swedish preschool children from 3 to 6 years of age.

Study design

A longitudinal clinical study.


Three hundred 3-year-old children in the Public Dental Service were consecutively included. The children underwent annual clinical examinations at 3, 4, 5 and 6 years of age, performed by four calibrated dentists in clinical settings. Initial (d1–2) and manifest (d3–5) lesions were registered at surface and tooth level. Radiographs were taken when indicated and possible.


Chi-squared test was used for group comparisons. Friedman’s test, Wilcoxon non-parametric test and logistic regression analyses explored caries development over the years.


The parents of 271 children agreed to their children participating in the study (total dropout rate at 6 years, 10.3 %). At baseline, 27.3 % of the children had carious lesions (d1–5 mean 0.98, SD ± 2.44), and only 50.6 % of the children were totally caries-free at 6 years (d1–5 mean 1.88, SD ± 2.81). Initial carious lesions made up the greater share at all ages. The greater part of the caries increment occurred between 3 and 4 years of age (p < 0.001). Having initial and/or manifest carious lesions at 3 years of age was a significant explanatory factor for new lesions at 6 years of age (OR 2.29; 95 % CI 1.58–3.31).


Children with an early caries experience had a high risk of further disease progression. Oral health promotion and prevention programmes should target small children and their carers.


Preschool child Dental caries Primary dentition 



This study was financially supported by the Skaraborg County Council and the Skaraborg Research and Development Council, which are both gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.-C. André Kramer
    • 1
    • 5
  • M. S. Skeie
    • 2
  • A. B. Skaare
    • 3
  • I. Espelid
    • 3
  • A.-L. Östberg
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Public Dental ServiceRegion Västra GötalandGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine and DentistryUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of Paediatric Dentistry and Behavioural Science, Faculty of DentistryUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  4. 4.R&D CentreSkaraborg Primary CareSkövdeSweden
  5. 5.Department of Behavioural and Community Dentistry, Institute of Odontology, Sahlgrenska AcademyUniversity of GothenburgGöteborgSweden

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