To conduct an assessment of time‐dependent covariates related to dental caries of the permanent dentition among a low socioeconomic status, understudied cohort of children, incorporating time‐dependent covariates through the application of extended Cox proportional hazards modeling.
This study modeled the time to first cavitated dental caries in permanent teeth among school‐aged children and assessed factors associated with this event. A cohort of 98 low socioeconomic status African‐American children with mean age of 5.85 years at baseline was recruited in Uniontown, Alabama and followed prospectively for 6 years. None of these children had dental caries on permanent teeth at baseline, and oral examinations were performed annually. Caries‐free survival curves were generated to describe time to event (having first decayed, filled, or missing permanent surface). Bivariate and multivariable extended Cox hazards modeling was used to assess the relationships between time‐dependent and time‐independent covariates and time to event.
Twenty‐eight children (28.6 percent) had their first permanent tooth caries event during the 6‐year follow‐up. Multivariable results showed that greater consumption of water was associated with lower dental caries hazard, while previous primary tooth caries experience was associated with greater dental caries hazard after adjustment for frequency of consumptions of milk, added‐sugar beverages, and 100 percent juice.
There was a global/overall significant caries protective effect of water consumption during the school‐age period of child development.