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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 767.
Published online Sep 11, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-767
PMCID: PMC3490858
Oral health status and behaviours of preschool children in Hong Kong
Chun-Hung Chu,corresponding author1 Ping-Lit Ho,2 and Edward CM Lo1
1Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
2University Health Service, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Chun-Hung Chu: chchu/at/; Ping-Lit Ho: hopl86/at/; Edward CM Lo: hrdplcm/at/
Received March 12, 2012; Accepted August 2, 2012.
Dental caries is a major public health problem in many countries. Since the last territority-wide dental survey of Hong Kong preschool children was conducted in 2001, a survey to update the information is necessary. This study aimed to describe the dental caries experience of preschool children in Hong Kong and factors affecting their dental caries status.
A stratified random sample of children from seven kindergartens in Hong Kong was surveyed in 2009. Ethical approval from IRB and parental consent was obtained. Clinical examinations of the children were performed by two calibrated examiners using disposable dental mirrors, an intra-oral LED light and ball-ended periodontal probes. A questionnaire to investigate possible explanatory factors for caries status was completed by the children’s parents. Caries experience was recorded using the dmft index. Multifactor-ANOVA was used to study the relationship between dental caries experience, and the background and oral health-related behaviours of the children.
Seven hundred children (53% boys), mean age 5.3 ± 0.7 years were examined. The mean dmft score of the surveyed children was 2.2 and 51% of them had no caries experience (dmft = 0). Most (>95%) of the decayed teeth were untreated. Statistically significant correlations were found between dental caries experience of the children and their oral health-related habits, family income, parental education level and parental dental knowledge.
Early childhood dental caries was prevalent among the preschool children in Hong Kong. Their caries experience was associated with their oral health-related behaviours, socio-economic background, and parental education and dental knowledge.
Keywords: Dental caries, Oral hygiene, Oral health, Toothbrushing, Preschool children, Hong Kong, China
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