USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)


Samantha Rivera

First Advisor

Thesis Director: Dr. Jeffrey H. Pincus, DDS Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Second Advisor

Thesis Committee Member: Dr. Hossam M. Ashour, Ph.D. Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued



Introduction: The prevalence of dental caries and its burden on the general population remains a significant public health issue. Although damages brought by dental caries can decrease the quality of life of affected individuals, risk factors are not well understood. The objective of this study is to assess the dental caries status of Florida dental patients and evaluate demographic and health-related factors associated with dental caries. Methods: We utilized the DMFT (Decayed, Missing, Filled, Teeth) Index to examine dental caries status of 207 dental patients in Florida. ANOVA and Bivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to explore the association between dental caries and factors such as age, gender, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Results: Increased likelihood of dental caries was found among older patients (R2 = 0.31426, p < 0.0001) and females (F = 7.4797, p > 0.0068). Additionally, dental caries was significantly associated with adverse health conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Notably, we did not observe a significant relationship between dental caries and diabetes. Discussions: Our study indicates specific subgroups at increased likelihood of dental caries in Florida. Health care professionals and policymakers should consider the role of demographic factors and underlying health conditions in dental caries.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program University of South Florida, St. Petersburg May 7, 2020.