Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
                                                   Official journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry                           
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19--22

Dental caries prevalence among preschool children of Hubli: Dharwad city

R Mahejabeen, P Sudha, SS Kulkarni, R Anegundi 
 Department of Pediatric Dentistry, SDM College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad, India

Correspondence Address:
P Sudha
Department of Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Light House Hill Road, Mangalore


The prevalence of dental caries and treatment needs in the age group of 3-5 years was estimated among 1500 children of Hubli -Dharwad city. The attitude of mothers towards their children«SQ»s oral health and its relation with caries prevalence was noted among 200 subjects. The prevalence of dental caries was 54.1%. The attitude of mothers towards children«SQ»s oral health made a statistical difference in the mean dmft levels.

How to cite this article:
Mahejabeen R, Sudha P, Kulkarni S S, Anegundi R. Dental caries prevalence among preschool children of Hubli: Dharwad city.J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2006;24:19-22

How to cite this URL:
Mahejabeen R, Sudha P, Kulkarni S S, Anegundi R. Dental caries prevalence among preschool children of Hubli: Dharwad city. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2006 [cited 2022 Jun 25 ];24:19-22
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Full Text

Children suffer from many infectious diseases during the first three years of life around the time of eruption of deciduous teeth. Parents do not give sufficient attention to prevent the occurrence of these at early age. The early childhood caries which is a combination of child being infected with cariogenic bacteria and the frequent ingestion of sugar is one of such diseases. Despite improvement over several decades oral disease among the children remains a serious problem.

Cleaton J P et al[1] examined rural and urban black children aged 1-5 years in Sweden. They observed that at 4 years of age there was a two fold increase in dental caries in the urban children to reach a dmft score higher than that in rural children. Johnsen DC[2] in West Verginia examined 3.5 year old children and observed that 95% children had nocturnal feeding habits. 40% of the parents of children with incisor lesions did indicate a previous awareness of potential carcinogenicity. Sarnat H et al[3] studied the maternal attitude towards dentistry and oral health status of their children. The results showed that the positive attitude of mother towards her child's oral health, the less caries the child had.

Patterns of behavior learnt in early childhood are deeply ingrained and resistant to change and mother has an important role in this respect. Attempts at changing the behavior at later stage of development may be difficult because of earlier indoctrination at home. The control of dental caries in young children is a continuing problem and it is easier to manage if groups of population with greatest needs are identified. Several studies have claimed that all children are not at equal risk at developing dental caries. [4],[5],[6],[7],[8] High risk group children with primary teeth decay should be identified and categorized which in turn is useful to determine needs for restorations and to implement primary preventive procedures in the targeted group.

The dental health of preschool child has not been clearly documented to the same extent as the dental health of school children. Hence an attempt has been made to study the prevalence, variation in caries attack and treatment needs and assess awareness of the parents regarding early dental caries in children in the 3-5 years age group.

 Materials and Methods

The survey was conducted on 1500 children residing in municipality limits of Hubli-­Dharwad, Karnataka. Children in the age group of 3-5 years were selected from both genders and from varied socioeconomic background. The sample was selected using simple random sampling. The sample was made from children visiting the Department of Pedodontics and Pediatric Departments of Civil Hospitals.

The examination was done by a single examiner and assisted by a trained person for recording data throughout the study. The subject was examined on an upright chair in adequate natural light. During the examination, a questionnaire was used to fill out personal data, like name, age, sex and mothers awareness about child's oral health. Mother's response was recorded as positive or negative, depending on whether they assisted their children in brushing, gave dietary instructions or took them for regular dental check up. The subjects were examined using plain mouth mirror and probe for dental caries.

Caries was recorded based on dmft index. The treatment needs were determined using codes and criteria as described by WHO.[9] The data obtained was subjected for statistical analysis by using Z -test and Chi-square test


The study group comprised of 1500 preschool children, 808 boys and 692 girls [Table 1] The overall prevalence of dental caries was 54.1%. In 3 year olds 42.6% had one or more carious lesions and in 4 and 5 year olds 50.7% and 60.9% respectively had one or more carious lesions. The difference in the carious prevalence was significant ( et al[16] Franscisco J et al[5] Masiga MA and Holt RD[12] and Raadal M et al .[17]

Availability of dental services, dental health awareness, socioeconomic status will influence the distribution of dmf components. In this study decayed component dominated followed by filled and missing teeth. The filled component increased as the age advanced. The missing component did not show any correlation with age. When the dental caries pattern was analyzed caries in posterior teeth surpassed the anterior. The reason could be morphological variation of posterior teeth, accessibility of brush and dextricity of brushing, increased consumption of sweets and genetic pattern. Bjarnason S et al .[18] Kerosuo H and Honkala E,[19] O. Sullivan D, Tinanoff N[20] and Raadal M, Elhasan FE, Ramusson P[17] had similar findings. Holm AX.[7] in his study showed 50-60% prevalence in 3-5 year olds. The first step in planning oral health services is to assemble the information regarding the prevalence and treatment needs. In our study one surface restoration was the highest treatment need followed by caries arresting care, two surface restorations, pit and fissure sealants, crowns, pulp therapy, extraction and space maintainer [Table 4]. This pattern was consistent in all age groups. Major portion of treatment need was of one surface restoration. This shows possibility of controlling progress of caries by simple procedures. Fissure sealing treatment need was required less as age advanced, indicating involvement of susceptible teeth by caries. Out of 1500 children examined only 200 mothers reported for the interview. Attitude has been defined as consistency in the form of reaction to create guidance to manifest the behavior of individual on the other hand it can be also defined as cognitive emotional, behavioral component contributing to the formation of attitude.[21] The difference between prevalence of caries in two groups (positive attitude and negative attitude) was not statistically significant. Kuriakose S. and Joseph E.[8] Sarnat H, Kagan A, Raviv A.[21] found prevalence of dental caries more in those who brushed alone than those who were assisted by mother. When dmf components were analyzed separately in two groups the filled component was more among the positive group that the negative group and the missing component was more in negative group. [Table 5], Graph 2 this indicates that mothers have an impact on child's oral health and hence they play a key role in inculcating healthy oral habits.

This study indicates a lack of preventive dental care facilities and awareness among population in this region. Also it emphasizes that awareness of the mothers regarding oral health care makes a significant impact. Thus, instilling the positive attitudes of the mothers towards the prevention of dental caries would reduce the prevalence at this tender age of life. Hence, it stresses the importance of primary prevention and increased restorative care for the purpose of both, reducing the caries prevalence and maintaining those caries free children, as the ultimate goal is to produce caries free adolescents and adults[Figure 1][Figure 2].


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