Dental Caries across Saudi Arabia: Systematic Review
Aim: To improve the understanding of caries prevalence in Saudi Arabia, a systematic review was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of dental caries in adults and children living in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: Online databases Medline, Embase and Cochrane Library were searched. The Saudi Dental Journal was hand searched. Study selection and data extraction were conducted in duplicate. Studies were included if they were conducted in Saudi Arabia on any population (adults and children) and collected caries data. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) was used to assess the quality of the studies. A narrative synthesis was conducted.
Results: Forty-nine cross-sectional studies were identified. Areas of weakness in study design/conduct were low response rates, reliable outcome measurement, and identification and handling of confounding factors. Statistical pooling of data was not appropriate due to substantial heterogeneity, due in part to variation in geographical location and targeted population. Twenty-nine studies presented data for primary dentition. The proportion of dental caries among primary teeth ranged from 0.21 to 1.00. Eighteen studies presented data for permanent dentition. The proportion of dental caries across permeant teeth ranged from 0.05 to 0.99.
Conclusions: The methodology quality of the including studies are poor in general. Dental caries proportion level ranged from 0.05 to 0.99 in permanent teeth, while ranged from 0.21 to 1.00 across primary teeth. Current data does not provide a complete assessment of dental caries across Saudi Arabia. Existing studies are limited in terms of the populations covered.