The aim of this study was to assess the caries prevalence in the adult population of Pomerania, Germany in comparison to national and international data. The study sample comprised 4,022 randomly selected subjects who were examined from October 1997 to May 2001 within the Study of Health in Pomerania (medical and dental, population-based cross-sectional study in Pomerania, Northeast Germany. Response rate: 69%. Age range of subjects: 25 - 79 yrs). Carious defects, fillings and missing teeth were diagnosed and the DMFT/S scores were calculated according to WHO guidelines (1997). These figures were compared to other German, Swedish and US data. Women exhibited higher mean DMFT and DMFS values in all age groups than men. The mean DMFT/S scores were slightly higher than the values for the only two available nationally representative age groups in Germany. The prevalence of primary carious lesions or secondary caries was very low, resulting in minor treatment needs (decayed surfaces: mean 0.95 ± 3.3) and high care indices (FS/DFS) for all age groups (90 - 95%). In contrast to this, the mean numbers of fillings in adults and especially of missing teeth in seniors were much higher in Pomerania for all age groups than in the Swedish and US adult population, where a caries decline was demonstrated. In spite of a very low prevalence of primary carious lesions and secondary caries, the mean number DMFT/S and especially MT/S scores in the Pomeranian adult population are high in comparison with Swedish and US data, but differed only slightly from the limited available national data for Germany.
Keywords: caries prevalence, DMFT, Germany, missing teeth, oral health