Risk Factors of Early Childhood Caries among Children in Enugu, Nigeria

Nneka Kate Onyejaka, Emmanuel Obiajulu Amobi


Objective: To determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of early childhood caries (ECC). Material and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 429 preschool children aged five years and below in Enugu East Local Government Area, Enugu, Nigeria. Data on socio-demographic profile, dental visits, brushing frequency, oral hygiene status and snacking habit of the children were obtained. The presence of dental caries was recorded by using the World Health Organization criteria. Results: The prevalence of early childhood caries was 9.8% and the mean dmft score was 0.37. Bivariate analysis showed significant association between age (p<0.001), socio-economic status of the child’s family (p=0.04), oral hygiene status (p<0.001), dental visits (p=0.01) snacking (p=0.01) and early childhood caries. Multivariate regression analysis showed that age (OR= 4.3, CI=1.17-15.6; p=0.03), high socioeconomic status (OR= 3.7, CI= 1.46-9.47; p=0.01) and fair oral hygiene (OR= 0.10, CI=0.26-0.39, p=0.001) were significant predictors of early childhood caries in this population. Conclusion: The prevalence of ECC was high in this population. Age, high socioeconomic status and fair oral hygiene were risk predictors of ECC. Early and prompt access to oral health education and preventive dental care for children by mothers and caregivers can reduce the occurrence of ECC.


Dental Caries; Child; Risk Factors

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