In Germany, caries of young people has been declining since the late 1980s, while the prevalence of early childhood caries has remained steady. Data from a number of regional studies suggest a current prevalence between 10% and 15%. However, there is a dearth of longitudinal observational study data on the risk of caries in the permanent teeth of persons who as children had to undergo comprehensive treatment for caries under intubation general anesthesia. The aim of this study was to compare caries experience in the permanent teeth of patients who had to undergo surgical treatment under general anesthesia as a result of non-compliance with caries treatment in early childhood with the experience of patients who did not develop caries at a young age. Analysis of the data revealed that severe caries experience during early childhood resulted in a more severe caries experience during adulthood (difference: 14.8 DMFS; p = 0.001). This increase in caries experience applied to both untreated and treated carious surfaces, and was also apparent in relation to tooth extractions. When compared with persons whose first teeth had been caries-free, patients with severe childhood caries experience tended to show poorer dental hygiene in relation to smooth (p < 0.06) and interproximal (p < 0.04) surfaces. Patients who had been non-compliant as young children were not found to suffer from dental anxiety as young adults. Patients in the treatment and control groups differed with regard to dental health. Aside from being statistically relevant, these differences also have implications for clinical dental practice.

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