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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Oral Health 1/2018

Prevalence of gingivitis and calculus in 12-year-old Puerto Ricans: a cross-sectional study

BMC Oral Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
Augusto R. Elias-Boneta, Karol Ramirez, Sona Rivas-Tumanyan, Margarita Murillo, Milagros J. Toro
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12903-017-0471-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Gingivitis is a common oral health problem. Untreated gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, a common cause of tooth loss. The prevalence of gingivitis and calculus among Puerto Rican children is unknown. Understanding this prevalence can support early public health preventative strategies. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of gingivitis and calculus among 12-year-old Puerto Ricans by health region and to explore differences in distribution by school type (proxy for socio-economic status) and gender.


A probability-based sample of 113 schools was selected proportional to enrollment size and stratified by health region, school type, and gender. Two trained examiners evaluated the presence of gingivitis and both supragingival and subgingival dental calculus. Gingivitis was defined as the presence of gingival bleeding upon gentle probing (BOP) in at least one site, and the extent of the problem was classified according to the percentage of teeth whose gingiva presented BOP (limited: 25–49% of the teeth tested; extensive: >50% of teeth tested). Logistic and linear regression models, adjusted for health regions, were used to compare gingivitis and calculus prevalence and extent between genders and school types.


Gingivitis was found in 80.41% of the 1586 children evaluated. Urban-public schoolchildren had a slightly higher prevalence (83.24%) compared to private (79.15%, p = 0.16); those in rural-public (77.59%) and private schools had similar prevalence (p = 0.15). Extensive gingivitis was present in 60.81% of all children. The mean percentage of sites presenting BOP (BOP%) was 17.79%. Rural and urban public schoolchildren presented significantly higher BOP% compared to children from private schools (p = 0.0005, p = 0.002, respectively). Dental calculus was detected in 61.59% of the sample, boys presenting significantly higher (p = 0.005) total and supragingival calculus. Rural-public schoolchildren had a significantly higher prevalence of subgingival calculus compared to private schoolchildren (p = 0.02).


Gingivitis prevalence is higher among 12-year-old Puerto Ricans compared to data reported for U.S. adolescents. Public schoolchildren presented significantly higher BOP% sites compared to private schoolchildren. Boys presented a significantly higher total and supragingival calculus prevalence than girls. Oral health disparities related to gender and school type were identified by this study. Studies exploring the reasons for these disparities are recommended.
Additional file 1: English version of the Oral Health Knowledge and Habits Questionnaire. 26 item Oral Health Knowledge and Habits Questionnaire. (DOCX 20 kb)
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