OBJECTIVES: The present investigation aimed to delineate the extent of the correlation between each of a number of possible associated variables and the amount of plaque (as measured by a plaque index) present in 7-year-old Flemish children and to investigate the potential relation between caries experience and the amount of dental plaque. PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 4,468 children representative of children living in Flanders and born in 1989 was obtained. Their mean age was 7.1 (SD = 0.4) years with a boys/girls ratio of 51.8%-48.2%. METHODS: Analyses were performed with ordinal plaque index outcome, considering the children's school (i.e. class) as a random effect. Random effect models were estimated with the SAS procedure Proc NLMIXED. RESULTS: From the multiple logistic regression analysis, it could be concluded that the older the subjects the more dental plaque was observed (OR = 1.35; CI 1.08-1.68; p = 0.0081). Moreover, four explanatory variables could be identified as significant determinants for dental plaque in the mixed dentition: 'start of brushing after the age of 2' (OR = 1.161; CI: 1.09-1.23; p < 0.0001), 'brushing frequency of < 1x/day' (OR = 1.369; CI: 1.012-1.66; p = 0.0019), 'more than two in between meal snacks' (OR = 1.18; CI: 1.023-1.36; p = 0.0111) and 'daily intake of sugar containing drinks' (OR = 1.24; CI: 1.08-1.42; p = 0.0023). Further, being male was associated with a higher amount of plaque (OR = 1.16; CI: 1.00-1.34; p = 0.0506) and finally, a weak but significant correlation (Spearmans' rho: r = 0.23, p < 0.0001) between caries experience and the amount of cervical plaque was shown. CONCLUSION: The amount of cervical plaque in the mixed dentition was significantly related to variables associated with oral hygiene and dietary habits. A low but significant correlation between the amount of dental plaque and caries experience was observed.