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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • dental caries;
  • epidemiology;
  • ethnicity;
  • longitudinal study

Julihn A, Ekbom A, Modéer T. Migration background: a risk factor for caries development during adolescence. Eur J Oral Sci 2010; 118: 618–625. © 2010 Eur J Oral Sci

The influence of child and parental migration background on the risk of approximal caries increment in Swedish adolescents was investigated. This retrospective longitudinal register-based cohort study included all 13-yr-old adolescents (n = 18,142) who were resident in the County of Stockholm, Sweden, in 2000, and followed them up to 19 yr of age. At follow-up, 15,538 subjects were examined. Caries data [decayed, missing, and filled teeth/surfaces (DMFT/S)], were collected from a dental database. Socio-demographic determinants were collected from Swedish National Registers. After adjustments for socio-demographic confounders, logistic regression analysis revealed that adolescents with foreign-born parents, irrespective of whether the child was born in Sweden or abroad, exhibited a significantly elevated risk for approximal caries increment (DMFSa > 0), and developed, on average, 0.53 and 1.14 more approximal caries lesions, respectively, compared with their counterparts with Swedish-born parents. Furthermore, adolescents born in eastern Europe exhibited an increased risk for approximal caries increment (DMFSa > 0) and developed, on average, 1.06 more approximal caries lesions compared with Swedish-born adolescents. In conclusion, parental migration background must be considered as a risk factor for caries development during adolescence, irrespective of whether or not the adolescent was born in Sweden.