Prevalence of preschool caries among 6-year-old school children from different socioeconomic backgrounds in Amman, Jordan

Mahmoud A. Hamdan, Ghada A Karien, Suha B. Abu-Ghazaleh, Hawazen N Sonbol, Mariam AL-Abdallah, Lamis D. Rajab


Objective: The objectives of the present study were to describe the dental health status among 6-year-old schoolchildren in Amman, Jordan, and to investigate the association between selected sociodemographic, oral health behaviour and attitude variables and the presence of dental caries.

Methods: A cross-sectional sample of 838 (Male = 436, Female = 402) children were examined in primary schools; the prevalence and severity of dental caries were measured using World Health Organization criteria. A two-stage cluster sampling technique was used. Sociodemographic factors and oral health behaviours and attitudes were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire.

Results: The prevalence of dental caries in the primary dentition was 41.6%. The mean number of decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft) was 2.59 (SD=2.67). The decayed component (d) constituted 67% of the total number of decayed, missing (19%) and filled teeth (14%). The chi-square association test demonstrated that the variables: mother education and employment, type of dental care, type of school, tooth brushing, presence of dental plaque and family size were statistically significant in relation to the presence or absence of dental caries (P<0.05). However, there was no significant difference between caries prevalence of children who attended private and public schools and those who had never been to a dentist. The caries experience was lower in females (dmft=2.51) than in males (dmft=2.68), but the difference was not statistically significant (P>0.05). Moreover, there was no significant difference between the number of children who had dental plaque on their teeth and others who did not (P>0.05).

Conclusions: The present study showed that dental caries level was higher than that of children in industrialized countries and lower than that in children of the Middle Eastern Arab countries. However, the early caries development seen in children from the lower socio-econo mic classes reinforces the need for preventive programs. Dental caries can be largely prevented or controlled in its early stages of development by simple and relatively cheap methods of personal care, involving attention to general nutrition, diet and oral hygiene. Dental care information and oral hygiene instructions should be given as early as possible to the expectant mothers at prenatal counselling. Access to dental care must be improved to enable any preventive care to be implemented.


Dental caries in preschool, Socioeconomic backgrounds

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