Pattern and Severity of Early Childhood Caries among Preschool Children in Northern Region, Saudi Arabia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Ravi Kumar Gudipaneni


Objective:To investigate the pattern and severity of early childhood caries (ECC) by using the decayed and filled surface (dfs) index in preschool children in Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia. Material and Methods:A convenience sample of 270 preschool children below 5 years of age (144 boys, 126 girls) attending outpatient pediatric dental clinics was selected for the study. World Health Organization criteria were used to diagnose caries through assessment of the dfs index. Information regarding oral hygiene practices, socio-economic status, and educational status of the mother was obtained through a structured questionnaire given to mothers. The data were statistically analyzed with the Chi-square test and Student's t-test. Results:73% of children were not brushing regularly; 74.4% of them were using fluoridated toothpaste. In the maxillary teeth, boys had a higher mean dfs index (10.25), as well as a higher number of decayed surfaces (ds), than girls. In the mandibular teeth, boys and girls had similar mean dfs indices. Significant differences were observed between boys and girls regarding filled buccal surfaces (p=0.001) and occlusal surfaces (p=0.001) in maxillary teeth. The mandibular first molar was the most commonly affected tooth (93.3%); lower anterior teeth were the least affected teeth (2-4%) among the primary dentition. Conclusion:The ECC pattern in the northern region of Saudi Arabia follows the typical pattern of nursing caries.


Child, Preschool; Dental Care for Children; Dental Caries; Tooth, Deciduous

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