Association of socio-economic status and dietary habits with early childhood caries among 3- to 5-year-old children of Belgaum city
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To ascertain if there were any association of socio-demographic factors and dietary habits with early childhood caries (ECC).
A cross-sectional study was conducted on 1,250 children 3–5 years of age. A self-designed validated questionnaire was prepared comprising two parts, one pertaining to socio-demographic data and the other related to a 3-day diet diary. Socio-economic stratification was based on Kuppuswamy’s classification. Diet history was obtained via a 3-day diet diary completed by the parents. A calibrated examiner conducted the oral examinations of the preschool children. Dental caries was assessed by using WHO criteria. Chi-square test and logistic regressions described the strength of the associations.
The prevalence rate of ECC was 63.17 %. Significant associations were obtained between ECC and age of the child, number of siblings in the family, mother’s education, sucrose exposure in between meals, sucrose exposure at meals, total frequency of sucrose exposure, and total sweet score. However, non-significant association of ECC was observed with socio-economic status.
Many of the socio-demographic and dietary factors were significantly associated with ECC. It would be appropriate to plan health education strategies for parents and care takers by inculcating socio-demographic factors with emphasis on reduced sucrose intake. ECC should be regarded as a serious public health problem.
KeywordsDiet history Early childhood caries Preschool children Socio-economic status Sucrose intake
The authors would like to thank Dr. Ashok Kumar Nayak, Professor of the Dept. of Public Health Dentistry, KLES VK Institute of Dental Sciences, Belgaum for his valuable suggestions and Dr. Javali, biostatistician at SDM Dental College, for performing the statistical analyses.
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