Early Childhood Caries and Family-Related Determining Factors in a Southern Brazilian City

Daniel Demétrio Faustino-Silva, Marcela Obst Comassetto, Alexandre Baumgarten, Rafaela Soares Rech, Márcia Cançado Figueiredo, Juliana Balbinot Hilgert


Objective: To evaluate the factors associated to Early Childhood Caries (ECC) in a population of children under 5 years old in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Material and Methods: Cross-sectional study conducted at 10 Primary Healthcare Units during the 2008 Nationwide Multi-Vaccination Campaign. A questionnaire was administered to parents and guardians to look into their social-demographic and economic variables, along with their dental health practices. The children underwent dental examination. The presence of visible plaque and dental caries was evaluated using the DMFS index. Chi-Square tests and Poisson regression were conducted, with robust variance for prevalence ratios (PR). Results: 560 children were evaluated, most of them male (51.6%) and at the average age of 32.6 (±16.2) months. Their average family income was 3.21(±4.8) Brazilian minimum monthly salaries. Paternal schooling, number of children, and living conditions were not significantly associated to the dental caries and visible plaque outcomes. According to our multivariate analysis, greater maternal schooling resulted in fewer cavities (PR=0.26; CI95%0.09-0.81) and less visible plaque (PR=0.40; CI95%0.21-0.79). On the other hand, children enrolled in day care or taken care by “others” showed higher caries prevalence (PR=1.58; CI95%1.00-2.48) (PR=1.90; CI95%1.23-2.95), respectively, and those whose families were the mother/child type showed higher visible plaque prevalence (PR=1.44; CI95%1.07-1.95). Conclusion: It is important to recognize that issues related to maternal schooling, the care given, and family organization are factors associated to ECC in a population of under 5-year-olds in Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Child, Preschool; Child Health; Dental Caries; Family Characteristics.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4034/PBOCI.2018.181.68