Rural-urban disparities in the distribution of dental caries among children in south-eastern Louisiana: A cross-sectional study

Hasheemah Afaneh, K. C. Madhav, Alexandra Lieberman, Ashley Fenton, Sydney Santa Ana, Lisa Staples, J. Michael Conner, Edward Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to assess the prevalence of dental caries among elementary schoolaged children in rural compared to urban communities within south-eastern Louisiana that have participated in a school-based dental screening and sealant program. Methods: The authors utilized de-identified Sealant Efficiency Assessment for Locals and States screening data for 2007-2014 provided by The Health Enrichment Network oral health program. The screening was conducted throughout 46 elementary schools in Louisiana. Screening forms recorded decayed, missing, and filled permanent teeth (DMFT). Descriptive statistics including demographic characteristics and oral health conditions were calculated. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the burden of caries in schools. Results: Of 963 children screened, 32% had dental caries. There was an increased risk of having any DMFT among children who attended rural schools as compared to those who attended urban schools (prevalence odds ratio (POR)=2.17, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.61-2.93). This study found that non-Hispanic black children had reduced odds of DMFT as compared to the children from other reported ethnicities (POR=0.695, 95%CI=0.503-0.960). Conclusion: A higher prevalence of dental caries was found in rural compared to urban communities. Further research is needed to assess the extent of geographic differences to improve oral health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5954
JournalRural and remote health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Health disparities
  • Oral health
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Rural-urban disparities in the distribution of dental caries among children in south-eastern Louisiana: A cross-sectional study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this