International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry

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VOLUME 15 , ISSUE 6 ( November-December, 2022 ) > List of Articles


Early Childhood Caries in a Preschool-based Sample in Northeast Italy: Socioeconomic Status and Behavioral Risk Factors

Roberto Ferro, Alberto Besostri, Armando Olivieri, Luca Benacchio

Keywords : Early childhood caries, Preschool children, Prevalence, Risk factors, Toothbrushing

Citation Information : Ferro R, Besostri A, Olivieri A, Benacchio L. Early Childhood Caries in a Preschool-based Sample in Northeast Italy: Socioeconomic Status and Behavioral Risk Factors. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 2022; 15 (6):717-723.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10005-2469

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 14-02-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2022; The Author(s).


Aim: To assess the relationship among caries and age, gender, immigrant condition, socioeconomic status (SES), and a behavioral risk factor (toothbrushing) in a sample of 3–5-year-old children. Materials and methods: We performed a random cross-sectional survey from January to December 2017, carrying out clinical examinations to estimate the decayed, missing, and filled teeth (dmft) score. Parents filled in a questionnaire reporting their education level (SES) and the daily frequency of children's toothbrushing. The multivariate analysis assessed the association between caries occurrence and the independent variables. The dmft score was assessed by zero-inflated negative binomial regression (ZINBR). Results: Out of 1,441 children in the sample, 357 (26.0%) presented at least one caries-affected tooth. Caries risk significantly increased with age and irregular toothbrushing, and it was significantly higher in children with lower SES levels. We modeled caries risk by means of ZINBR. The degree of caries experience increased in children from lower SES positions, immigrant status, and of older age; regular toothbrushing (twice a day) is a predicting factor to belong to the “zero caries” group. Conclusion: Dental caries represent a significant burden in preschool children and can be regarded as an early marker of social disadvantage. Clinical significance: The confirmation of the earliest preventive approach as the only chance to grant a “caries free” dentition in all ages and the first target for a pediatric dentist.

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