Assessment of Caries Risk Factors Affecting the Children of Goa with Early Childhood Caries

Krishna Balraj
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, A. B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Background: Early childhood caries (ECC) is a virulent form of dental caries that can destroy the primary dentition of toddlers and preschool children. There are reports of high early childhood caries prevalence in young children. This has been a challenge to the dental profession throughout the developing and the developed world. Goa is a southwestern Indian state where the lifestyle is seen to be heading towards modernization. There is an observed increase in the number of working mothers, increasing trend towards bottle feeding, high consumption of bakery products and ready to eat foods, and lack of observation of stringent oral hygiene.

Materials and Methods: A sample of 1000 children in the age group between 3-6 years in various kindergartens and pre-primary schools in Goa were screened for early childhood caries, parents of the children were interviewed on the basis of a dental health questionnaire, which included a series of questions regarding child’s socioeconomic status, educational status of parents, feeding practices and oral hygiene practices evident among Goan population.

Results: Results were analyzed using chi square test. The prevalence of ECC was 64%. ECC was found to be higher in the low income group. As the educational status of the parents increased, an inverse relationship with caries status was noted. Caries prevalence was higher in children in whom prolonged breastfeeding and bottle feeding was practiced. Frequency of consumption of bakery items was common. Prevalence of ECC was higher in children in whom oral hygiene practices were unsatisfactory.

Conclusion: Prevalence of ECC in Goa was very high. Risk factors such as low annual income, low maternal education, on demand breast feeding, duration of breast feeding, bottle and breast feeding at night, tooth brushing under supervision, tooth cleaning at night, frequency of cleaning, showed a significant association with ECC.

Krishna Balraj