The association between sickle cell disease and dental caries in African Americans

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This study sought to determine whether there was an association between sickle cell disease (SCD) and dental caries in African-American adults. A sample of 102 African-American adult patients with SCD from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, were matched to 103 African-American adult subjects, who did not have SCD. The match was by age, gender and recruitment location. Each subject underwent a standardized oral examination as well as an interview to ascertain risk factors for dental caries. For individuals with incomes of less than $15,000, subjects with SCD had more decayed (10.36 versus 1.58) and fewer filled (2.86 versus 8.45) surfaces compared to subjects without SCD with both differences being statistically significant (p<0.05) after adjusting for age and gender. The results suggest that low-income African Americans with SCD may be at increased risk for dental caries and are less likely to receive treatment with a restoration.

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