Purpose: The objective of the present study was to assess the prevalence of untreated caries in a Brazilian paediatric acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patient population and its association with sociodemographic, behavioural and clinical characteristics. Materials and Methods: The study group was comprised of 125 HIV-infected patients (aged 3 to 15 years) who had already manifested AIDS and were assisted in a specialised health care unit. Dental examinations followed the World Health Organizations guidelines for oral health surveys. Family caregivers provided information about the socioeconomic standing and the behaviour of their children. Patients medical records in the hospital provided information on the clinical status of patients. A Poisson regression analysis was used for assessing the covariates for the prevalence of untreated dental caries, as adjusted by age. Results: The prevalence of untreated caries was 58%; a higher prevalence was found in younger children with primary and mixed dentition. The prevalence of untreated caries associated significantly with lower socioeconomic status (household crowding and schooling of the caregiver), dietary habits (higher frequency of sugar consumption) and poorer clinical status (HIV viral load and symptom severity). Conclusions: The high burden of untreated caries on paediatric AIDS patients reinforced the importance of integrating the clinician with the interdisciplinary health care team that assisted these children. The identification of socioeconomic and behavioural factors associated with caries experience reinforced the importance of the attention that children with AIDS received within their own households for the prevention of dental disease, particularly a proper nutritional advisement and monitoring of dental hygiene.
Keywords: AIDS, children, dental care, dental caries