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VOLUME 4 , ISSUE 2 ( April-June, 2014 ) > List of Articles


Caries, Oral Health Knowledge, Behavior, and Barriers to Care Among a Group of Urban Poor in the Philippines: An Overview

Alyssa Hayes

Citation Information : Hayes A. Caries, Oral Health Knowledge, Behavior, and Barriers to Care Among a Group of Urban Poor in the Philippines: An Overview. Int J Prosthodont Restor Dent 2014; 4 (2):39-45.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10019-1104

Published Online: 01-03-2017

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2014; The Author(s).



To provide an overview of the caries status and needs, knowledge, behavior and barriers to oral health in a group of adults from a poor urban community in the Philippines.

Materials and methods

401 subjects aged 16 to 85 years (Mean ± SD: 41.4 ± 15.2) were assessed for caries status and needs, oral mucosal lesions and fluorosis using the 1997 WHO format and interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The examinations were conducted in natural light with a mouth mirror and an explorer with the subject seated in a regular chair. One-way ANOVA was used to compare the means and Chi-square and Fisher's exact test was used to compare the proportions. The significance level was set at ɑ = 0.05.


The mean DMFT for the whole sample was 15.59. Older adults had more missing teeth compared to their younger counterparts (0.73 MT for ≤ 20 years; 22.13 MT for ≥ 71 years) while the number of mean untreated decay was higher among the younger age cohorts with those aged 21 to 30 years of age experiencing the most untreated decay (DT of 9.37). The need for extractions increased with age (1.70; SD 1.92 teeth in 61- 70 year-olds) and the need for multi-surface fillings (6.59, SD 2.86) was greatest among young adults. In general, the oral health knowledge and awareness of the importance of good oral hygiene was high, however, only 33% reported seeing a dentist in the previous 2 years. Over 82% reported their perceived oral health as fair to poor, suggesting that this urban, poor population is aware of their needs, but face financial barriers to acting on this perceived need.


A large percentage of the present sample of Filipino adults had significant unmet caries needs and adequate finances were the main barrier to seeking care at a dental office.

How to cite this article

Torresyap V, Hayes A, Hoover J, Karu- nanayake C. Caries, Oral Health Knowledge, Behavior, and Barriers to Care Among a Group of Urban Poor in the Philippines: An Overview. Int J Prosthodont Restor Dent 2014;4(2):39-45.

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