BACKGROUND: Dental caries is considered the single most common chronic childhood disease. Apart from the cariogenic substrates some socio-demographic and behavioral indicators responsible for an increased caries experience include; poor oral hygiene, inadequate tooth-brushing habits, gender, frequency and timing of consumption of sugar-containing drinks and frequency of dental visits. The purpose of the study was to evaluate dental caries experience and the use of dental services by female students with from Garrison schools of Lahore. The study was carried out at ten Garrison public schools located in the Cantonment area of Lahore, Pakistan.
METHODOLOGY: A total of 5,538 female students often Garrison public schools from playgroup to grade 10 were included in this analytical cross sectional study. The data gathered included demographic, DMFT score and frequency of dental visits. Six calibrated dentists examined the students in natural light. The students were seated on a chair and orally examined using mirror tweezer and probe. A DMFT proforma was filled per WHO criteria for assessing dental caries. Mean age and DMFT was calculated from the sample. Paired T test was used to determine the significance between DMFT and Dental visits.
RESULTS: The total number of students were 5,538 and the average age for the sample was 8.81 ± 2.88.The mean DMFT score was 2.48 ± 3.09 for the sample. Majority (n=4651, 83.7%) of the female students never went to the dentist. Only few(n=321, 5.8%) of the students visited the dentist in the past six months.
CONCLUSION: The female students of Garrison public school were found to have a high caries experience. The use of dental services was poor.
KEYWORDS: Prevalence of caries, dental visits, oral examination.