Root caries patterns and risk factors of middle-aged and elderly people in China

Minquan Du, Han Jiang, Baojun Tai, Yinghong Zhou, Bei Wu, Zhuan Bian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract - The objectives of this study were to describe root caries patterns of Chinese adults and to analyze the effect of selected demographic and socioeconomic factors on these patterns. A total sample of 1080 residents aged 35-44-years-old and 1080 residents aged 65-74-years-old from three urban and three rural survey sites in Hubei Province participated in both an oral health interview and a clinical oral health examination. Root surface caries prevalence rates were 13.1% in the middle-aged group and 43.9% in the elderly group. The mean number of teeth affected by caries in the middle-aged group was reported at 0.21 and 1.0 in the elderly group. Mean Root Caries Index (RCI) scores of the middle-aged were reported at 6.29 and elderly subjects were reported at 11.95. Elderly people living in rural areas reported a higher RCI score (13.24) than those living in urban areas (10.70). A significantly higher frequency of root surface caries was observed in elderly participants (P < 0.001, OR = 3.80) and ethnic minorities (P < 0.001, OR = 1.93). In addition, smokers, nontea drinkers, and those with an annual household income of 10 000 yuan or less tended to have higher caries prevalence. RCI figures for the different tooth types ranged from 1% to 16%, indicating a wide variation in attack rates. In conclusion, our study suggests that root surface caries occurrence is high among the Chinese adult population, especially older adults. With an increasing number of retained teeth in both middle-aged and elderly people, root caries is a growing disease in the People's Republic of China which deserves more attention in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Chinese
  • Root caries
  • Root caries index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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