International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry

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VOLUME 14 , ISSUE 1 ( January-February, 2021 ) > List of Articles

Expert Review

Mapping Evidence on Early Childhood Caries Prevalence: Complexity of Worldwide Data Reporting

Marwa Abdelrahman, Kuei-Ling Hsu, Mary Anne Melo, Vineet Dhar, Norman Tinanoff

Keywords : Cross-sectional studies, Dental caries, Global health, Preschool child

Citation Information : Abdelrahman M, Hsu K, Melo MA, Dhar V, Tinanoff N. Mapping Evidence on Early Childhood Caries Prevalence: Complexity of Worldwide Data Reporting. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 2021; 14 (1):1-7.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10005-1882

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 14-07-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; The Author(s).


Objective: This review aims to identify variances and research gaps in the early childhood caries (ECC) prevalence within countries and the global community by mapping current evidence. Materials and methods: We performed a literature search in PubMed/MEDLINE and Web of Science to identify English-language, peer-reviewed epidemiologic studies published from January 1999 to January 2019. Abstracts and full-text articles were dual-screened based on predefined eligibility criteria. We classified outcomes by children's age and countries based on economic status. Ranges of reported caries prevalence and median values by country and age were calculated and evidence-mapped. Results: Out of 915 studies, 59 studies met the inclusion criteria. The most significant number of reports were from the USA, Brazil, and India. The ranges of prevalence (1–96%) among the studies were large. The calculated median caries prevalence values may better estimate countries’ prevalence than the reported ranges. Early childhood caries prevalence's highest median values were found for South Korea studies (54%) for children <3-year-old and from Bosnia (81%) for children 3–6 years old. No apparent difference was found in the prevalence of ECC from developed and developing countries. Conclusion: This mapping review reflects the ranges and median values of ECC worldwide. Overall, the reported prevalence of ECC in most countries is very high. No apparent difference was found in the prevalence of ECC from developed and developing countries. Reported ranges of ECC, as well as heterogeneity and methodological issues, hamper comparisons across studies globally. Clinical significance: The global ECC prevalence ranges are extreme. Median data may provide a structure for future epidemiological studies to optimizing healthcare resources for caries interventions globally.

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