Folia Medica 63(4): 546-556, doi: 10.3897/folmed.63.e57845
Assessment of potential risk factors associated with early childhood caries in a subpopulation of children from Thrace region of Turkey
expand article infoSirin Guner Onur, Betul Kargul§
‡ Altinbas University, Istanbul, Turkey§ Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey
Open Access

Introduction: Early childhood caries (ECC) is considered a global health concern due to its high prevalence and effect on the overall health of children.

Aim: The present study aimed to investigate prevalence of ECC and associated risk factors in a Turkish subpopulation of children.

Materials and methods: Five hundred forty-two (299 boys, 243 girls) children were enrolled in this study. Caries experience on primary teeth was measured using decayed or filled teeth (dft) index and the presence of caries was diagnosed if dft >0. A structured questionnaire was employed to mothers through interview.

Results: ECC was significantly associated with increased age (OR=1.032; 95% CI, 1.018–1.047; p<0.001), low level of family income (OR=2.91; 95% CI, 1.567–5.404; p=0.001), low educational level of mother (OR=2.602; 95% CI, 1.509–4.485), night-time frequent breastfeeding (OR=1.695; CI, 1.07–2.685; p=0.024) and bottle feeding with sugary beverages (OR=1.689; CI, 1.002–2.847; p=0.049). First dental visit age (OR=1.482; 95% CI, 1.254–1.753; p<0.001) and initial age of tooth brushing (OR=2.062; 95% CI, 1.324–3.209; p=0.001) were found to be protective against ECC development.

Conclusions: The current study highlights potential factors that are commonly associated with the risk of developing ECC. From the perspective of public health, a better understanding of socioeconomic, environmental, maternal and behavioural risks factors for ECC will aid improving maternal and child-based health promotion and preventive programmes.

early childhood caries, prevalence, children