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International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry 2011; 21: 13–22

Introduction.  The aim of the study was to investigate caries experience and dental care index in diabetic children and to determine if correlation exists between caries experience and metabolic control, insulin treatment, and the duration of diabetes.

Materials and methods.  The study group consisted of 52 children and adolescents, 3–16 years of age with type 1 diabetes attending the outpatient diabetic clinic at Ghent University Hospital, Belgium. Fifty healthy subjects recruited from the paediatric dental clinic served as the control group. Caries lesions were assessed using DMF-index both at cavity and non-cavity levels. Participants and/or their guardians provided information about oral hygiene habits and dietary habits. Diabetes-related data (type, duration, insulin regimen) were collected from medical records and completed with the lab data on HbAlc.

Conclusion.  It became clear that, although children with type 1 diabetes mellitus could be expected to run a potential high caries risk taking into account the diabetes-associated biological and behavioural alterations, no significant differences were observed regarding caries experience and dental care between diabetic children and healthy controls. The level of untreated dental decay among the diabetic children is, however, considerably high, which was reflected by a significant lower dental attendance.