European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 595–601 | Cite as

Do expectant mothers know how early childhood caries can be prevented? A cross-sectional study

  • R. ElKarmiEmail author
  • A. Aljafari
  • H. Eldali
  • M. T. Hosey
Original Scientific Article



To evaluate the awareness, knowledge, and beliefs about early childhood caries (ECC) among a sample of expectant mothers and to determine their preferences to help design appropriate interventions.


Expectant mothers attending for antenatal care at a large public hospital were interviewed and asked to complete a questionnaire about ECC. The questionnaire was pre-tested and validated and contained questions about risk factors, presentations, management, and complications of ECC. Participants were also asked about their preferred method for oral health education about ECC. Data were analysed using SPSS for Windows release and descriptive statistics were generated.


Four-hundred expectant mothers were approached and 380 (95%) agreed to participate. 59% reported brushing twice or more daily, but only 10% attended the dentist regularly. Only 16% thought that tooth brushing should start as soon as primary teeth erupt. Most (68%) thought that bottle feeding does not need to stop before the age of two. The majority believed that sugar is better consumed between meals (81%) and in portions throughout the day (85%). Only 12% thought that a child should have their first dental visit by the age of one. Educational level influenced knowledge on several aspects of ECC prevention. The participants suggested leaflets (38%) and social media (24%) as methods for oral-health-education delivery.


Expectant mothers lack adequate knowledge about ECC prevention. There is a need for interventions that deliver advice on child toothbrushing, dietary practices, and dental attendance as part of wider general-health promotion.


Oral health knowledge Dental care for children Caries prevention 


Author contributions

All authors have made substantive contribution to this study and/or manuscript, and all have reviewed the final paper prior to its submission. RE and AA performed study design, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript writing; HE performed data collection and analysis; and MTH contributed to study design, data analysis and manuscript writing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the research ethics committees at the hospital and the University of Jordan and in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, and Preventive DentistryThe University of JordanAmmanJordan
  2. 2.Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics, and Preventive DentistryJordan University HospitalAmmanJordan
  3. 3.Division of Population and Patient HealthKing’s College London Dental InstituteLondonUK

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