Purpose: The aim of this paper was to describe the caries experience in four North Italian areas. The areas selected were four North Italian medium-sized cities: San Remo located in western Liguria, Ferrara in Emilia, and Varese and Melegnano (Milan suburbs). Materials and Methods: 1104 subjects (560 males and 544 females) were examined. Several dental outcomes were used: DMFT Index and SiCindex following WHO recommendations; and the caries experience ratio; the percentage of children with high caries disease and with rampant caries was calculated as the percentage of subjects with DMFT > 0, DMFT ≥ 4 and DMFT ≥ 7. Results: Mean DMFT ranged from 1.21 ± 1.65 in the Ferrara group to 1.83 ± 2.49 in San Remo. Among the groups, statistically significant differences were observed for DT and DMFT (p = 0.04 and p = 0.01 respectively). The SiC index was 3.75 ± 1.87, 3 (2-5) in all samples, with significant differences among the four areas (p = 0.04). No statistical differences were observed among the four areas regarding caries experience and the proportion of children with high and rampant caries. An elevated proportion of subjects with high caries (DMFT ≥ 4) was noted in the San Remo group (22.9%). The distribution of children by gender according to DMFT levels was not statistically significant either. The F/DMFT ratio was similar in the survey areas, from 0.30 in San Remo, 0.38 in Varese and Ferrara, to 0.40 in the Milan suburbs. Conclusion: Information drawn from this study can be helpful to describe and plan future dental prevention programmes aimed at reducing caries experience and promoting better oral health level.
Keywords: caries epidemiology, DMFT index, SiC index, children, Italy