Predictor Model of Root Caries in Older Adults: Reporting of Evidence to the Translational Evidence Mechanism

The Open Dentistry Journal 16 July 2010 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874210601004010124


Compared to younger adults, older adults are at greater risk for root caries. A model of root caries may assist dentists in predicting disease outcomes. OBJECTIVES: Using the Iowa 65+ Oral Health Survey, analysis was done to model the patterns of the root caries development in older adults.


The statistical analysis included Markov chain modeling, model estimation and validation.


The model effectively predicts root caries using an 18-month predictive cycle and is validated up to 36 months (two cycles), with no significant differences (Chi-square test p-values >0.1) between predicted and observed distributions. However, we do not have observed data for validation beyond 36 months since the model was designed to perform only at single or multiple 18-month cycles. As expected, the predicted distribution at 54-month (3 cycles) and the observed distribution at 60-month differed significantly (p<0.0001).


The model demonstrated a high probability that a sound surface will remain caries free. However, one and multiple-surface lesions aggressively infect adjoining surfaces. Maturing of the carious lesion occurs with the 4-surface lesion, decreasing the probability of tooth loss. Thus, maintaining a sound root surface and early treatment intervention reduces the risk of tooth dysfunction (morphological destruction) and loss.


P: Tooth/Subject characteristics-Older adults, 65 years of age or more, male and female participants, regional rural Iowa residents, race unspecified, functional status-non-institutionalized level unspecified, risk level unspecified

I: Root caries

P (C-not applicable): Probability/Statistical significance for decision data only/Clinical significance-dataset over 20 years old/Utility data not included/Cost data not included/Meaning in practice undetermined.

O: Each year through a three year cycle, caries progression from a sound root surface

A: Data attached:

■ Published manuscript

□ Unpublished manuscript

□ Raw data

R: Primary author contact information present

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