We aimed to consolidate all epidemiologic data about untreated caries and subsequently generate internally consistent prevalence and incidence estimates for all countries, 20 age groups, and both sexes for 1990 and 2010. The systematic search of the literature yielded 18,311 unique citations. After screening titles and abstracts, we excluded 10,461 citations as clearly irrelevant to this systematic review, leaving 1,682 for full-text review. Furthermore, 1,373 publications were excluded following the validity assessment. Overall, 192 studies of 1,502,260 children aged 1 to 14 years in 74 countries and 186 studies of 3,265,546 individuals aged 5 years or older in 67 countries were included in separate metaregressions for untreated caries in deciduous and permanent teeth, respectively, using modeling resources from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. In 2010, untreated caries in permanent teeth was the most prevalent condition worldwide, affecting 2.4 billion people, and untreated caries in deciduous teeth was the 10th-most prevalent condition, affecting 621 million children worldwide. The global age-standardized prevalence and incidence of untreated caries remained static between 1990 and 2010. There is evidence that the burden of untreated caries is shifting from children to adults, with three peaks in prevalence at ages 6, 25, and 70 years. Also, there were considerable variations in prevalence and incidence between regions and countries. Policymakers need to be aware of a predictable increasing burden of untreated caries due to population growth and longevity and a significant decrease in the prevalence of total tooth loss throughout the world from 1990 to 2010.


Kassebaum NJ, Bernabé E, Dahiya M, Bhandari B, Murray CJL, Marcenes W. Global burden of untreated caries: a systematic review and metaregression. Journal of Dental Research. 2015 March 4. doi: 10.1177/0022034515573272.