Purpose: To examine the as yet unknown relationship between dental caries and the child’s psychomotor development.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was designed by screening the kindergartens from urban areas of two
cities in southern Taiwan. Besides the personal, demographic and dietary information, the common measures for caries
(dmft) and the amended comprehensive scales (CCDI) for psychomotor development were used to assess their
relationship(s). A power analysis showed that 334 subjects would be required. One-way ANOVA vs multiple linear regression
analysis were used to compare the differences of variables between gender, age and dmft scales, vs the relationship
among all variables tested, respectively.
Results: A total of 433 children completed the study. The results demonstrated that there was a positive relationship
between higher (i.e. dmft ≥ 4 and 5) but not lower or extremely high caries experience and aspects of psychomotor
development (i.e. personal-social and expressive language) in children aged 4 to 6 years.
Conclusion: The present results are important for paediatric dentists, as they suggest a positive correlation between
caries experience (dmft 3 to 6) and psychomotor development in pre-school children and that such a correlation may
occur more significantly as an attribute of the most affected teeth (incisors and molars) during the critical stage of
personal-social and expressive language development (speech-communication).