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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: QI
Quintessence International

Edited by Eli Eliav

ISSN 0033-6572 (print) • ISSN 1936-7163 (online)

July/August 2006
Volume 37 , Issue 7

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Determinants of early childhood caries in a group of inner-city children

Luc Martens, DDS, PhD / Jacques Vanobbergen, DDS, PhD / Sara Willems, MA / Johan Aps, DDS, PhD / Jan De Maeseneer, PhD

Pages: 527–536
PMID: 16841600

Objective: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC) and severe early childhood caries (s-ECC) in inner-city children in Ghent, Belgium, and to investigate the independent impact of its determinants. Method and Materials: In a nonrandomized cross-sectional research design, all children between 24 and 34 months of age attending the final consultation at a participating Child and Family Health Clinic were included (n = 385). Data on oral hygiene and caries were collected by oral examination. Caries prevalence and oral hygiene were determined according to established criteria. Data on oral health habits and socioeconomic status were obtained by a validated questionnaire. All analyses were performed with ECC and s-ECC as response variables. Results: The mean DMFS was 0.83 (SEM = 0.14). ECC was diagnosed in 18.5% of the children and s-ECC was found in 12.2%. Treatment need was 100%. From the multiple regression analysis it became clear that ethnicity and neighborhood significantly determined ECC. From all oral health–related behavioral variables, only daily use of a bottle with sweetened drinks other than milk or water, frequency of brushing, and quality of oral hygiene as expressed by Plaque Index scores remained significantly associated with ECC. Conclusion: Children whose mothers had an Eastern European nationality at birth and who live in a deprived neighborhood, daily use a bottle with sweetened drinks other than milk or water, brush less than once a day, and have plaque are at higher risk for ECC and s-ECC. (Quintessence Int 2006;37:527–536)

Key words: early childhood caries, epidemiology, inner-city

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