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Modules

Module 3: Caries Risk Assessment

3.2 Caries Risk Assessment

Caries risk assessment for children takes into account the clinical, environmental, and general health factors that affect caries development. This information is gathered by (1) interviewing the child’s parent or other primary caregiver to obtain the child’s dental history and an assessment of the parent’s or other primary caregiver’s oral health and (2) making clinical observations through an oral health screening. A caries risk assessment takes little time to conduct and can be easily incorporated into the well child visit.

Parent or Other Primary Caregiver Interview

The caries risk assessment should begin with a dental history of the child and an assessment of the parent’s or other primary caregiver’s oral health.

The child’s dental history can be obtained by asking questions, such as

  • Do you clean your child’s teeth every day?
  • Do you use fluoridated toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth?
  • How often does your child snack during the day?
  • What kind of snacks does your child eat?
  • Have your child’s teeth ever been examined by a dentist?

An assessment of the parent’s or other primary caregiver’s oral health does not require an oral examination but can be conducted by asking a few key questions, such as

  • How are your teeth?
  • Have you had a lot of cavities?
  • Do you have a regular dentist?
  • When was your last visit to the dentist?
  • Have you ever had a tooth filled?
  • Have you had a lot of dental work done?