Purpose: To analyse caries risk factors of 12-13-year-old children living in Laos, using the computer program Cariogram to illustrate the caries risk profile. In addition, to compare the results with a study performed in Sweden. Materials and Methods: One hundred Laotian and 392 Swedish children were included. Interviews were performed to obtain information on diet intake and fluoride use. Saliva was analysed for mutans streptococci, lactobacilli and secretion rate/buffering capacity. Oral hygiene was assessed using the Silness and Löe criteria. Caries prevalence was recorded according to WHO. The data were entered into the Cariogram to determine each childs caries risk, expressed as the chance of avoiding caries. The children were divided into five risk groups. Results: Mean DMFT level of the Laotian children was 4.61 ± 2.95 and 1.38 ± 1.97 in the Swedish group. For the risk factors plaque amount, frequency of food intake, saliva secretion rate, buffering capacity and fluoride, the Laotian children had significantly less favourable values compared to the Swedes. Only 6% of Laotian children belonged to the Cariogram low risk group versus 40% of the Swedish children. The mean DMFT for the five Cariogram groups was (from low to high risk) 0.00, 3.00, 3.56, 5.66, 6.11 for the Lao children and 0.31, 1.39, 2.56, 3.03, 2.91 for the Swedish ones. The mean chance of avoiding caries was 37.3% for the Laotians and 69.2% for the Swedish children (p < 0.001). Conclusion: According to the opinion of the Cariogram, the Laotian children demonstrated significantly higher caries risk than Swedish children.
Keywords: cariogram, caries risk factors, Mutans streptococci, lactobacilli, salivary secretion rate, buffering capacity, Lao PDR