Dental caries and its determinants among recent immigrants from rural Ethiopia

Harold D. Sgan‐Cohen*, Doron Steinberg, Shlomo P. Zusman, Michael N. Sela

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Adults (35–45 yr old) and children (5 and 12 yr old) recently arrived in Israel from rural areas in Ethiopia were examined. Caries levels were low: e.g. DMFT = 0.31 among 12‐yr‐olds olds, and 1.27 amongst adults. The 5‐yr‐olds were 86.8% caries‐free, while 12‐yr‐olds were 81.8% and adults 54% caries‐Tree respectively. According to interview data, the diet in Ethiopia had been based on local agricultural products and was almost sugar‐free. The mean total count of salivary bacteria, as determined on blood agar, was 3.4 × 108; mean count of Streptococcus viridans. on mitis salivarius, was 6.7 × 107; and mean count of S. mutans. as determined on mitis salivarius with bacitracin, was 1.7 × 107. These levels were all high and were not significantly different from a control group of 20 Israelis. The mean number of lactobacilli, on Rogosa agar, was 2.75 × 104, which was significantly higher than among the controls (3.6 × 103). Salivary pH levels were generally similar between the Ethiopian group and the controls. Salivary How was significantly higher for the Ethiopians (1.93 ml/min) than for controls (1.16 ml/min). Low levels of caries in this population can be attributed to an almost sugar‐free diet and high salivary flow, but not to the composition of oral microflora.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)338-342
Number of pages5
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1992


  • S. mutans
  • dental caries
  • diet
  • epidemiology
  • lactobacilli
  • saliva


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