Purpose: To compare pit and fissure caries in children and adolescents between 1999-2004 and 2011-2014 across sociodemographic strata.
Methods: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 1999-2004 and 2011-2014 were analyzed in children and adolescents aged 6-19 years. Sociodemographic characteristics that were captured in both time periods were included in analyses. The means of decayed and filled surfaces (DFS) for permanent first/second molars were compared across the 2 time frames using student’s t-tests. Sampling weights were applied to account for the complex survey design. All reported p-values were statistically significant at 5%.
Results: The total mean DFS scores increased significantly in permanent second molars from 1999-2004 to 2011-2014 (P= .0072), which was driven, by an appreciable increase in pit/fissure caries (P= .0139). Non-Hispanic Blacks, Mexican Americans, and those of low household income had significantly elevated mean levels of pit and fissure caries in 2011-2014 as compared to 1999-2004 (P= .0356) and foreign born (P= 0.0205), in the US for (P= .0134) scores. Notably, those who had never been to a dentist or had a last dental visit in 1 or more years had higher pit and fissure caries scores in 2011-2014 as compared to 1999-2004 (all P-values<0.05)
Conclusions: Disparities in pit and fissure caries among children and adolescent by race/ethnicity, nativity and socioeconomic status has widened over time, underscoring the need for preventative efforts targeting this population.