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Caries and associated factors in a group of Swedish children 2- 3 years of age.

Journal article
Authors Marie Bankel
Ulla-Carin Eriksson
Agneta Robertson
Birgitta Köhler
Published in Swedish dental journal
Volume 30
Issue 4
Pages 137-46
ISSN 0347-9994
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 137-46
Language en
Keywords Child, Preschool, Dental Caries, epidemiology, ethnology, etiology, Dietary Sucrose, administration & dosage, adverse effects, Female, Food Habits, Humans, Male, Oral Hygiene, Prevalence, Questionnaires, Risk Factors, Socioeconomic Factors, Sweden, epidemiology, ethnology
Subject categories Paedodontics


The reported skew distribution of caries prevalence in preschool children, with a small group of children with very high caries prevalence, stresses the importance of early identification for prevention. The present study aimed to describe the caries prevalence in a group of Swedish preschool children and to identify caries risk factors in this population. 221 children, 2 to 3 years old, agreed to participate in the study (82%). A standardized questionnaire was used to describe socio-economic factors, dietary and oral hygiene habits and exposure to fluoride. Initial and manifest dental caries was diagnosed and the presence of plaque was visually observed without disclosing solution. Saliva and plaque samples were collected for identification of mutans streptococci (MS). For statistical analysis,the Student's t-test,the Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test were used. The caries prevalence among the 2 to 3 year-olds was 7 and 18 percent respectively. An association between early childhood caries and a number of factors was found e.g. the presence of MS and visible plaque, nocturnal meals, frequent sugar consumption, mothers' state of employment and immigrant background. The Public Dental Health Service has been successful in decreasing the number of children with caries, but the challenge remains to be able to control caries in the high-risk group. The skew distribution, with many children without caries and a smaller group with very high caries prevalence, was confirmed. The study provided insight into various factors, useful for monitoring children at risk of developing early childhood caries.

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