To assess prevalence and severity of dental caries in primary teeth among Libyan school children in Benghazi.
Study design: Cross sectional observational study.
Material and Methods: A total of 236 school children, aged 8-9 years were selected for a dental examination. The oral health was measured using World Health Organization (WHO) diagnostic criteria for dental caries: decayed, missing and filled tooth, dmft index for primary dentition.
Results: The overall caries prevalence was 83.5% (mean dmft 3.3) with the highest caries prevalence recorded among 8 year-old children (45.3%, mean dmft 3.53). Mean decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft) was 2.91, 0.31, 0.09 respectively. Second primary molars had higher dmft than the first (mean dmft 1.72, 1.33 respectively) and the difference was statistically significant p=0.001. The mean dmft of mandibular primary molars was higher than that of maxillary ones (mean dmft 1.67, 1.38) and the differences was statistically significant p=0.01.
Conclusion: While the prevalence of dental caries in primary teeth was found to be high, the treated and filled teeth are very low. The most commonly affected teeth were second primary molars, especially in the mandible. Dental caries occurred most often in the mandible. This study provided us with the baseline data for prevalence of dental caries. Providing oral health education and preventive programs would assist in improving the oral health condition of school children.