Dental caries in Arab League countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis


  • Soban Qadir Khan

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Clinical Affairs, College of Dentistry, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    • Correspondence to:

      Soban Qadir Khan,

      Department of Clinical Affairs,

      College of Dentistry, University of Dammam,

      Petromin, Al-Rakha Dammam,

      31441 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


    Search for more papers by this author



The aim of this review was to determine prevalence of dental caries in primary and permanent teeth in the 2-20-year-old population of the Arab league.


A literature search was performed on Pubmed, Summon and Google Scholar using the key words ‘Dental caries’, ‘dmft’ and ‘DMFT’. A total of 293 articles were found, of which 35 passed our inclusion criteria and were included in analysis. Tables were made separately for primary and permanent teeth; the age group for primary teeth was 2–12 years and for permanent teeth 6–20 years.


A meta-analysis was run by using data extracted from the studies included. Heterogeneity was tested by forest plot and chi-square test, and considerable heterogeneity was found. Mean decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft) was 4.341 (95% CI 3.714, 4.969) and in permanent teeth (DMFT) was 2.469 (95% CI 2.019, 2.919) from a random effect model. Publication bias diagnostics suggested missing of four studies of primary teeth caries data and eight studies of permanent teeth caries data to obtain symmetry in the funnel plot.


The incidence of caries in primary teeth was found to be high compared with caries in permanent teeth in the Arab League. This study does not provide a comprehensive picture of caries prevalence in the Arab League because in many of these countries only a few studies were performed. Therefore, these data cannot provide a complete picture of the prevalence of caries in those countries. Additional studies are needed to better evaluate the prevalence of caries in children and young adults in Arab League countries.