Greater caries-free survival of first permanent molars: Findings from a 7-year follow-up evaluation of a community-based oral health preventive program
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Background: The occlusal surface of the first permanent molar is the most frequently affected site by dental caries. Aim: To assess the caries-free survival of first permanent molars in children participating in a community-based oral health preventive program. Design: This was a retrospective study conducted on 426 children under 12 years of age, beneficiaries of a preventive program from 2009 to 2015, in El Cedro, Colombia. The program offered oral health care education, supervised brushing and mouth washing, and application of topical fluoride. By using parametric survival models for interval-censored data, primary and secondary caries-free survival of any first permanent molar was estimated and analyzed. Results: Before program implementation, dental caries lesions presented at an average age, adjusted by age of eruption, of 8.3 years for primary caries lesion and 9.3 years for secondary caries lesion. After 7 years of the program, the estimated average age for presenting primary dental caries lesion was delayed by 4.6 years and by 5.3 years for secondary caries. Conclusion: The implementation of the oral health program led to improved caries-free survival of first permanent molars.