Severity of early childhood caries in preschool children attending Al-Ain Dental Centre, United Arab Emirates
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To investigate the severity of and contributing factors of early childhood caries (ECC) in preschool children presented to a paediatric dentistry department in Al-Ain Dental Centre, United Arab Emirates; to study the level of any previous dental care provided to these children and to establish a baseline database for further research and the resources required for serving preschool children in Al-Ain (UAE).
The sample consisted of all healthy children below 5 years of age who presented for their initial visits to the Department of Paediatric Dentistry during a 3-month period. A structured questionnaire was used to obtain information regarding demographic data, feeding history and dietary habits, and oral hygiene practices. The dental examination of children was conducted by the investigator with the help of a mouth mirror and Sirona dental unit light source.
One hundred and seventy six children with a mean age of 3.7 years were included in the study and 78 (44 %) children were still bottle-fed on demand at the time of examination. More than half of the children consumed sweets more than once/day and 58 % either never or rarely brushed their teeth. Only one child was given fluoride. Two-thirds of children had never visited a dentist before and 63 % had poor oral hygiene. The mean dmft and dmfs scores were 10.9 and 32.1, respectively. The care index was very low (6.4 %).
The high level of dental decay could be attributed to on-demand bottle feeding, high sweet consumption, poor oral hygiene, lack of use of fluoride prevention and lack of regular dental visits. There is a great need for prospective studies and community preventive programmes to solve the continuing problem of ECC.
KeywordsEarly childhood caries (ECC) Severity Preschool children Bottle feeding Prevention
The author wishes to express his great appreciation to the mothers of the children for their interest and cooperation in this study. The author would also like to thank professors David Wray and Dr. Iyad Hussein for their help in checking and editing the English language of the manuscript.
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