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1.  Pattern and severity of early childhood caries in Southern Italy: a preschool-based cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:206.
This survey was intended to investigate prevalence and severity of early childhood caries (ECC) in a sample of children in Southern Italy and to identify factors that may be related to this condition.
The study was designed as a cross-sectional survey. The study population (children aged 36–71 months) attending thirteen kindergartens was randomly selected through a two-stage cluster sampling procedure. Parents/guardians of all eligible children were invited to participate filling out a structured self-administered questionnaire, and after having returned the informed consent form an oral examination of the child was performed at school. The questionnaire included information on: socio-demographics about parents/guardians and child, pregnancy and newborn characteristics, oral hygiene habits of child, eating habits particularly on consumption of sweets, access to dental services, and infant feeding practices. The WHO caries diagnostic criteria for deciduous decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft) and surfaces (dmfs) were used to record ECC and severe-ECC (S-ECC). Univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to evaluate statistical associations of social demographics, infant feeding practices, oral hygiene habits, and access to dental services to ECC, S-ECC, dmft and dmfs.
515 children participated in the study. 19% had experienced ECC, and 2.7% severe-ECC (S-ECC), with a mean dmft and dmfs scores of 0.51 and 0.99, respectively. Mean dmft was 2.68 in ECC subjects, and 6.86 in S-ECC subjects. Statistical analysis showed that prevalence of ECC significantly increased with age (OR = 1.95; 95% CI = 1.3-2.91) and duration of breastfeeding (OR = 1.26; 95% CI = 1.01-1.57), whereas it was significantly lower in children of more educated mothers (OR = 0.64; 95% CI = 0.42-0.96), and higher in those who had been visited by a dentist in the previous year (OR = 3.29; 95% CI = 1.72-6.33).
Results of our study demonstrate that even in Western countries ECC and S-ECC represent a significant burden in preschool children, particularly in those disadvantaged, and that most of the known modifiable associated factors regarding feeding practices and oral hygiene are still very spread in the population.
PMCID: PMC3941481  PMID: 24571668
Early childhood caries; Public health; Feeding habits; Children; Prevention
2.  Prevalence of Early Childhood Caries Among Very Young Urban Boston Children Compared with US Children 
The aims of this study were to compare prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC) in 1- to 3-year-old children seeing primary-care pediatricians at two urban medical centers in Boston to the prevalence of ECC in similarly aged US children surveyed as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) and to assess risk factors for ECC among this cohort of children compared with risk factors among similarly aged US children.
Characteristics of 787 1- to 3-year-old children from two urban Boston medical centers were compared with those of 3,644 similarly aged US children surveyed as part of NHANES III. Demographic and social characteristics and ECC prevalence by putative risk factors were compared. A multiple logistic regression model was fit to assess putative risk factors and difference between groups simultaneously.
Race, age, previous dental visit, parents’ education, and household income were significantly associated with ECC prevalence. Parents’ place of birth was a significant effect modifier with lower ECC among Boston children of immigrants than among US children of immigrants.
Lower ECC prevalence among urban Boston children of immigrant parents compared with US children of immigrant parents may reflect changing immigrant composition in the United States since NHANES III or a different immigrant composition in the Boston area compared with the United States. This finding reinforces the need for further research of immigrants in order to understand cultural practices that may affect oral health. Finally, low ECC prevalence among very young children reinforces the importance of early intervention in reducing ECC.
PMCID: PMC2814600  PMID: 19192100
early childhood caries; oral health disparities
3.  Less counseling on Early Childhood Caries transmission by dentists 
Journal of public health dentistry  2012;73(2):10.1111/j.1752-7325.2012.00356.x.
High levels of Streptococcus mutans on teeth of young children are predictive of Early Childhood Caries (ECC). Transmission from mother-to-child is common and studies have demonstrated treatment of the mother results in less ECC. The objective of this study was to determine how dentists have adopted the practice of counseling about ECC.
In 2006 as part of a larger study on dental care for pregnant women, we surveyed 829 general dentists in Oregon. The questionnaire contained questions to capture the extent to which general dentists have adopted counseling pregnant women about ECC transmission, to describe personal and practice characteristics, and examine how dentists' views on the ease of adopting of new procedures related to ECC counseling. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify separate and additive effects of demographic and practice characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs.
The adjusted odds of a dentist who strongly believed in the link between mothers and babies and provided ECC counseling were 1.60 (95% CI 1.3-2.0, P<0.01). The odds of a dentist who reported discussing ECC with staff members and provided counseling were 2.7 (95% CI 1.7-4.3, P<0.01). Male dentists were less likely to counsel patients than female dentists (Adjusted OR = 0.5, 95% CI 0.3-1.0, p<0.05).
The strongest predictors of counseling patients about ECC were dentists' belief in the evidence of caries transmission and dentists' discussion of ECC during staff meetings.
PMCID: PMC3855324  PMID: 22970775
dental caries; prevention; infant; pregnant woman
4.  Pediatricians’ oral health recommendations for 0- to 3-year-old children: results of a survey in Thuringia, Germany 
BMC Oral Health  2014;14:44.
German societies of pediatricians and dentists disagree about oral health-related preventive recommendations (use of fluoride supplements, fluoride-containing toothpaste) for children aged 0–3 years. After failure to reach a consensus, there is no study that has evaluated the guidelines that pediatricians use in daily practice.
A standardized questionnaire was sent to all 167 practicing pediatricians in the state of Thuringia, Germany, to assess the current oral health-related preventive recommendations. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
The response rate was 52.0%. More than 9.0% of the pediatricians advise parents with regard to diet, use of baby bottles, oral hygiene and dental visits. The majority of pediatricians recommend to start tooth-brushing after the 1st birthday and recommend the use of toothpaste and a 1st dental visit after the 2nd birthday (78.0%). Additionally, 23.3% (n = 20) of pediatricians prescribe solely vitamin D, and 20.9% (n = 18) prescribe vitamin D combined with fluoride. Fluoride supplements are given as required by 37.2% (n = 32) of pediatricians, primarily between the 1st and 6th birthdays. The guidelines of the Pediatric Society were used by 1.2% of the pediatricians, the guidelines of the dentists were used by 5.8%, and a mix of both was used by 93.0%. The simultaneous use of fluoride supplements and fluoride toothpaste in the first three years was recommended by 45.9% of the pediatricians.
Pediatricians’ oral health recommendations are based on a mix of the guidelines from the German societies of pediatricians and dentists and led to no use or possible overdose of fluoride. Against the background of early childhood caries and dental fluorosis, there is a need for uniform guidelines.
PMCID: PMC4021417  PMID: 24885353
5.  Socio-behavioural factors and early childhood caries: a cross-sectional study of preschool children in central Trinidad 
BMC Oral Health  2013;13:30.
Early childhood caries (ECC) is a public health problem due to its impact on children’s health, development and well being. Little is known about early childhood oral health in the West Indies or the influence of social and behavioural factors on the prevalence and severity of early childhood caries in this preschool population. The aims of this study were to describe the prevalence and severity of ECC in preschool children in a region of central Trinidad and to explore its relationship with social and behavioural factors.
A cross-sectional survey was undertaken on children aged 3-5 years-old from a random sample of preschools in central Trinidad. Oral health examinations were conducted for children for whom parental consent was given, using WHO criteria (visual diagnosis / cavitation at d3). A self-reported questionnaire was distributed to all parents and caregivers. Variables included socio-demographics, oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, visible caries experience and treatment need.
251 children were examined, 50.2% were male with a mean age of 3.7 years (SD 0.67) and 71% were of Indian ethnicity. The prevalence of ECC was 29.1% and the prevalence of severe early childhood caries (S-ECC) was 17.5%. 29.9% of children had some treatment need, with 12% in need of urgent care or referral. Poisson generalized linear mixed model analysis found a higher rate of visible caries experience for children who ate sweet snacks more than twice a day (p < 0.001), had poorer parental dental health ratings (p < 0.0001), a previous dental visit (p < 0.0001) and difficulty finding dental care (p < 0.001).
The prevalence and severity of ECC in central Trinidad was related to oral health behaviours and access to dental care. Oral health promotion should include more supportive and practical advice for parents and caregivers of preschool children along with improved access to dental care to enable primary prevention and management of ECC.
PMCID: PMC3708808  PMID: 23834898
Early childhood caries; Preschool children; Oral health behaviour; West Indies
6.  Care coordination among pediatricians and dentists: a cross-sectional study of opinions of North Carolina dentists 
BMC Oral Health  2014;14:33.
Care coordination between physicians and dentists remains a challenge. This study of dentists providing pediatric dental care examined their opinions about physicians’ role in oral health and identified factors associated with these opinions.
North Carolina general and pediatric dentists were surveyed on their opinions of how physicians should proceed after caries risk assessment and evaluation of an 18-month-old, low risk child. We estimated two multinomial logistic regression models to examine dentists’ responses to the scenario under the circumstances of an adequate and a limited dental workforce.
Among 376 dentists, 52% of dentists indicated physicians should immediately refer this child to a dental home with an adequate dental workforce. With a limited workforce, 34% recommended immediate referral. Regression analysis indicated that with an adequate workforce guideline awareness was associated with a significantly lower relative risk of dentists’ recommending the child remain in the medical home than immediate referral.
Dentists’ opinions and professional guidelines on how physicians should promote early childhood oral health differ and warrant strategies to address such inconsistencies. Without consistent guidelines and their application, there is a missed opportunity to influence provider opinions to improve access to dental care.
PMCID: PMC3997217  PMID: 24708785
Care coordination; Guidelines; Infant oral health care; Dental workforce; Early childhood caries; Preventive dental services
7.  Oral Health Disparities and Unmet Dental Needs among Preschool Children in Chelsea, MA: Exploring Mechanisms, Defining Solutions 
Significant disparities exist in children’s receipt of preventive dental care (PDC) in the United States. Many of the children at greatest risk of dental disease do not receive timely PDC; when they do receive dental care, it is often more for relief of dental pain. Chelsea is a low-income, diverse Massachusetts community with high rates of untreated childhood caries. There are various dental resources available in Chelsea, yet many children do not access dental care at levels equivalent to their needs.
Using Chelsea as a case-study, to explore factors contributing to forgone PDC (including the age 1 dental visit) in an in-depth way.
We used a qualitative study design that included semi-structured interviews with parents of preschool children residing in Chelsea, and Chelsea-based providers including pediatricians, dentists, a dental hygienist and early childhood care providers. We examined: a) parents’ dental attitudes and oral health cultural beliefs; b) parents’ and providers’ perspectives on facilitators and barriers to PDC, reasons for unmet needs, and proposed solutions to address the problem. We recorded, transcribed and independently coded all interviews. Using rigorous, iterative qualitative data analyses procedures, we identified emergent themes.
Factors perceived to facilitate receipt of PDC included Head-Start oral health policies, strong pediatric primary care/dental linkages, community outreach and advertising, and parents’ own oral health experiences. Most parents and providers perceived there to be an adequate number of accessible dental services and resources in Chelsea, including for Medicaid enrollees. However, several barriers impeded children from receiving timely PDC, the most frequently cited being insurance related problems for children and adults. Other barriers included limited dental services for children <2 years, perceived poor quality of some dental practices, lack of emphasis on prevention-based dental care, poor care-coordination, and insufficient culturally-appropriate care. Important family-level barriers included parental oral health literacy, cultural factors, limited English proficiency and competing priorities. Several solutions were proposed to address identified barriers.
Even in a community with a considerable number of dental resources, various factors may preclude access to these services by preschool-aged children. Opportunities exist to address modifiable factors through strategic oral health policies, community outreach and improved care coordination between physicians, dentists and early childhood care providers.
PMCID: PMC4299657  PMID: 25614878
Children; Preventive dental care; Oral health; Early childhood caries
8.  Prevalence of early childhood caries and associated risk factors in preschool children of urban Bangalore, India: A cross-sectional study 
European Journal of Dentistry  2012;6(2):141-152.
Early childhood caries (ECC) is a devastating form of dental decay with multi-factorial origin. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to investigate the prevalence and related risk factors of ECC in preschool children of urban Bangalore (India).
A random sample of 1,500 children aged between 8 and 48 months were selected from various parts of urban Bangalore. The status of dental caries was recorded according to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Information regarding oral hygiene practices, feeding habits, socio-economic status, birth weight, and educational status of the mother was obtained through a structured questionnaire given to mothers of preschool children. The data was subjected to statistical analysis using the Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 12.
The prevalence of ECC in preschool children was 27.5%, while the mean deft was 0.854. ECC increased significantly with age. Children whose mothers had no schooling and those who belonged to low socioeconomic group showed higher caries prevalence. A significant increase in caries prevalence was found in children accustomed to the practice of on-demand breast feeding and bottle feeding at night. Caries also increased significantly when snacks were consumed between meals. However, increased frequency of tooth-brushing, parental supervision, use of a baby toothbrush, and fluoridated dentifrice significantly decreased caries prevalence.
ECC is a serious public health problem in this population and measures to increase awareness should be undertaken. The target candidates for oral health promotion programs should include mothers, general dentists, pediatricians, nurses, primary care health workers, care-takers at day-care centers and gynecologists.
PMCID: PMC3327493  PMID: 22509116
Early childhood caries; preschool; feeding habits; oral hygiene; prevalence; socioeconomic status
9.  Association of Child Temperament with Early Childhood Caries 
Background: Psychological variable may affect early childhood caries (ECC), but this aspect has not been explored satisfactorily. This study evaluates the child temperament as a risk predictor for ECC.
Aim: To find the association of child temperament with ECC.
Settings and design: The study is a cross-sectional survey of 1300 school children aged 3 - 6 years from Moradabad city. This survey was conducted during March 2008 to April 2009. The survey assessed the child temperament and analyzed its association with ECC.
Materials and Methods: Children were examined for the evidence of caries, using dmft (decayed missing filled teeth) index based on W.H.O standard criteria (1997). Child temperament was assessed on the basis of five factors; namely, Sociability, Emotionality, Energy level, Attentivity and Rhythmicity using Malhotra Temperament Schedule MTS. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse the data. Significance was deemed at p≤0.05.
Results: Out of 1,300 parents involved in filling questionnaire for assessment of child temperament, 1053 (81%) responded and their children were included in study. No caries were found in 731 (69%), while 322 (31%) had evidence of caries in one or more teeth. Of the five temperament factors, Sociability, Energy score, Attentivity and Rhythmicity significantly associated with ECC levels. No correlation could be established with emotionality.
Conclusion: The children with ECC were found less sociable, less energetic, highly distractible and less rhythmic as compared to children without ECC.
PMCID: PMC4316330  PMID: 25654024
Child behaviour; Early childhood caries; Malhotra temperament scale; Risk factors; Temperament
10.  Salivary characteristics and dental caries: Evidence from general dental practices 
Saliva is one of the intraoral host factors that influence caries development. The authors conducted a study to investigate whether salivary characteristics are associated with recent dental caries experience.
Dentist-investigators and dental staff members collected data pertaining to a two-year cumulative incidence of dental caries (previous 24 months) and salivary characteristics during baseline assessment in an ongoing longitudinal study. The systematic random sample consisted of patients (n = 1,763) visiting general dental practices (n = 63) within the Northwest Practice-based REsearch Collaborative in Evidence-based DENTistry (PRECEDENT). The authors estimated adjusted rate ratios (RRs) by using generalized estimating equations log-linear regression to relate salivary characteristics to coronal carious lesions into dentin.
Low resting pH (≤ 6.0) in the overall sample and low stimulated salivary flow rate (≤ 0.6 milliliter/minute) in older adults (≥ 65 years old) were associated with increased dental caries (RR, 1.6; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.1–2.2; RR, 2.4; 95 percent CI, 1.5–3.8, respectively). Low buffering capacity was associated with decreased dental caries in children and adolescents (RR, 0.3; 95 percent CI, 0.1–1.0; RR, 0.2; 95 percent CI, 0.1–0.7, respectively). A thick, sticky or frothy salivary consistency also was associated with decreased dental caries in adults (RR, 0.6; 95 percent CI, 0.4–1.0). Associations between other salivary characteristics and dental caries for the overall sample and within each age group were not statistically significant.
Salivary characteristics were associated weakly with previous dental caries experience, but the authors did not find consistent trends among the three age groups. Different salivary characteristics were associated with an increased caries experience in older adults and a lowered caries experience in children and adolescents and adults.
Practical Implications
Further investigations are needed in this population setting to understand the study’s conflicting results. The study findings cannot support the use of salivary tests to determine caries risk in actual clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC3874545  PMID: 23633704
11.  Assessment of dental caries predictors in 6-year-old school children - results from 5-year retrospective cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:989.
This was a retrospective cohort study undertaken to assess the rate and pattern of dental caries development in 6-year-old school children followed-up for a period of 5 years, and to identify baseline risk factors that were associated with 5 years caries experience in Malaysian children.
This 5-years retrospective cohort study comprised primary school children initially aged 6 years in 2004. Caries experience of each child was recorded annually using World Health Organization criteria. The rates of dental caries were recorded in prevalence and incidence density of carious lesions from baseline to final examination. Risk assessment was done to assess relative risk for caries after 5 years in children with baseline caries status. Simple and multiple logistic regression analysis were performed to identify significant independent risk factors for caries.
The sample consisted of 1830 school children. All components of DMFT showed significant differences between baseline and final examination. Filled teeth (FT) component of the DMFT showed the greatest increases. Results revealed the initial baseline caries level in permanent dentition was a strong predictor for future caries after 5 years (RR=3.78, 95% CI=3.48-4.10, P<0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed significant association between caries occurrence and residence (urban/rural) (OR=1.80, P<0.001). However, it was not significantly associated with gender and ethnicity. The incidence density of caries, affected persons (IDp) observed from baseline and after 5 years was 5.80 persons/100 person-year of observation. The rate of new caries-affected tooth (IDt) in the period from baseline and after 5-years was 0.76 teeth/100 teeth-year of observation.
The majority of 12-year-old school children (70%) were caries-free and most of the caries were concentrated in only a small proportion (30%) of them. We found that the presence of caries in permanent teeth at the age of 6 years was a strong predictor of future caries development in this population. The strong evidence of early permanent teeth caries at six years old to predict future caries incidence at 12-year-olds, which could be obtained at almost no cost, questions the need for and cost-effectiveness of expensive technology-based commercial caries predictions kits.
PMCID: PMC3524020  PMID: 23158416
12.  Identification of Caries Risk Factors in Toddlers 
Journal of Dental Research  2011;90(2):209-214.
The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors to predict caries progression in toddlers in primary-healthcare settings for the cost-effective targeting of preventive and referral strategies. We examined 329 children (26 ± 6 mos old) twice, one year apart, in Indiana, USA. A 107-item structured interview was used to collect information from the primary caregiver and child on factors/beliefs/perceptions/behaviors that could affect caries development, transmission of bacteria, medical-dental health, and access to care. Bacterial levels, gingivitis, dental plaque, and caries experience were assessed. Multiple-variable logistic regression models of caries progression toward cavitation included family caries experience, transmission-related behaviors, dietary factors, health beliefs, and lower income, but differed in selected predictors/predictive power by race/ethnicity. Addition of clinical variables did not significantly improve the prediction.
PMCID: PMC3144099  PMID: 21173434
longitudinal study; toddler; dental caries; risk assessment
13.  Update on Early Childhood Caries since the Surgeon General's Report 
Academic pediatrics  2009;9(6):396-403.
The 2000 Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health (SGROH) included a limited discussion of the condition known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC). Because of its high prevalence, its impact on young children's quality of life and potential for increasing their risk of caries in the permanent dentition, ECC is arguably one of the most serious and costly health conditions among young children.
A necessary first step in preventing dental caries in preschool children is understanding and evaluating the child's caries risk factors. Previous caries experience and white spot lesions should automatically classify a preschool child as high risk for caries. Microbial factors, such as presence of visible plaque and tests that identify a child as having high levels of mutans streptococci also predict caries in young children. Frequency of sugar consumption, enamel developmental defects, social factors such as socioeconomic status, psychosocial factors, and being an ethnic minority also have shown to be relevant in determining caries risk.
Based on this knowledge of specific risk factors for an individual, different preventive strategies as well as different intensities of preventive therapies can be employed. Caries preventive strategies in preschool children include fluoride therapy, such as supervised tooth brushing with fluoridated dentifrice, systemic fluoride supplement to children living in a non-fluoridated area that are at risk for caries, and professional topical fluoride with fluoride varnish. There is emerging evidence that intensive patient counseling or motivational interviews with parents to change specific behaviors may reduce caries prevalence in their children. Findings regarding antimicrobial interventions, efforts to modify diets, and traditional dental health education are less consistent.
PMCID: PMC2791669  PMID: 19945074
early childhood caries
14.  Design of the Xylitol for Adult Caries Trial (X-ACT) 
BMC Oral Health  2010;10:22.
Dental caries incidence in adults is similar to that in children and adolescents, but few caries preventive agents have been evaluated for effectiveness in adults populations. In addition, dentists direct fewer preventive services to their adult patients. Xylitol, an over-the-counter sweetener, has shown some potential as a caries preventive agent, but the evidence for its effectiveness is not yet conclusive and is based largely on studies in child populations.
X-ACT is a three-year, multi-center, placebo controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial that tests the effects of daily use of xylitol lozenges versus placebo lozenges on the prevention of adult caries. The trial has randomized 691 participants (ages 21-80) to the two arms. The primary outcome is the increment of cavitated lesions.
This trial should help resolve the overall issue of the effectiveness of xylitol in preventing caries by contributing evidence with a low risk of bias. Just as importantly, the trial will provide much-needed information about the effectiveness of a promising caries prevention agent in adults. An effective xylitol-based caries prevention intervention would represent an easily disseminated method to extend caries prevention to individuals not receiving caries preventive treatment in the dental office.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.Gov NCT00393055
PMCID: PMC2955560  PMID: 20920261
15.  Protocol for Northern Ireland Caries Prevention in Practice Trial (NIC-PIP) trial: a randomised controlled trial to measure the effects and costs of a dental caries prevention regime for young children attending primary care dental services 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:27.
Dental caries is a persistent public health problem with little change in the prevalence in young children over the last 20 years. Once a child contracts the disease it has a significant impact on their quality of life. There is good evidence from Cochrane reviews including trials that fluoride varnish and regular use of fluoride toothpaste can prevent caries.
The Northern Ireland Caries Prevention in Practice Trial (NIC-PIP) trial will compare the costs and effects of a caries preventive package (fluoride varnish, toothpaste, toothbrush and standardised dental health education) with dental health education alone in young children.
A randomised controlled trial on children initially aged 2 and 3 years old who are regular attenders at the primary dental care services in Northern Ireland. Children will be recruited and randomised in dental practices. Children will be randomised to the prevention package of both fluoride varnish (twice per year for three years), fluoride toothpaste (1,450 ppm F) (supplied twice per year), a toothbrush (supplied twice a year) or not; both test and control groups receive standardised dental health education delivered by the dentist twice per year. Randomisation will be conducted by the Belfast Trust Clinical Research Support Centre ([CRSC] a Clinical Trials Unit).
1200 participants will be recruited from approximately 40 dental practices. Children will be examined for caries by independent dental examiners at baseline and will be excluded if they have caries. The independent dental examiners will examine the children again at 3 years blinded to study group.
The primary end-point is whether the child develops caries (cavitation into dentine) or not over the three years. One secondary outcome is the number of carious surfaces in the primary dentition in children who experience caries. Other secondary outcomes are episodes of pain, extraction of primary teeth, other adverse events and costs which will be obtained from parental questionnaires.
This is a pragmatic trial conducted in general dental practice. It tests a composite caries prevention intervention, which represents an evidence based approach advocated by current guidance from the English Department of Health which is feasible to deliver to all low risk (caries free) children in general dental practice. The trial will provide valuable information to policy makers and clinicians on the costs and effects of caries prevention delivered to young children in general dental practice.
Trial registration
EudraCT No: 2009 - 010725 - 39
Ethics Reference No: 09/H1008/93:
PMCID: PMC3196725  PMID: 21985746
16.  Association between parental guilt and oral health problems in preschool children: a hierarchical approach 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):854.
Dental caries and traumatic dental injury (TDI) can play an important role in the emergence of parental guilt, since parents feel responsible for their child’s health. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of oral health problems among preschool children on parental guilt.
A preschool-based, cross-sectional study was carried out with 832 preschool children between three and five years of age in the city of Campina Grande, Brazil. Parents/caregivers answered the Brazilian version of the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (B-ECOHIS). The item "parental guilt" was the dependent variable. Questionnaires addressing socio-demographic variables (child’s sex, child’s age, parent’s/caregiver’s age, mother’s schooling, type of preschool and household income), history of toothache and health perceptions (general and oral) were also administered. Clinical exams for dental caries and TDI were performed by three dentists who had undergone a training and calibration exercise (Kappa: 0.85-0.90). Poisson hierarchical regression was used to determine the significance of associations between parental guilt and oral health problems (α = 5%). The multivariate model was carried out on three levels using a hierarchical approach from distal to proximal determinants: 1) socio-demographic aspects; 2) health perceptions; and 3) oral health problems.
The frequency of parental guilt was 22.8%. The following variables were significantly associated with parental guilt: parental perception of child’s oral health as poor (PR = 2.010; 95% CI: 1.502-2.688), history of toothache (PR = 2.344; 95% CI: 1.755-3.130), cavitated lesions (PR = 2.002; 95% CI: 1.388-2.887), avulsion/luxation (PR = 2.029; 95% CI: 1.141-3.610) and tooth discoloration (PR = 1.540; 95% CI: 1.169-2.028).
Based on the present findings, parental guilt increases with the occurrence of oral health problems that require treatment, such as dental caries and TDI of greater severity. Parental perceptions of poor oral health in their children and history of toothache were predictors of greater feelings of parental guilt.
PMCID: PMC4150983  PMID: 25128429
Guilt; Dental caries; Tooth injuries; Preschool child
17.  The prevalence of Early Childhood Caries in 1-2 yrs olds in a semi-urban area of Sri Lanka 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:336.
ECC remains a problem in both developed and developing countries and ECC has been considered to be present in epidemic proportions in the developing countries. The aetiology and associated factors of ECC should be studied adequately to overcome this health hazard. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of ECC in 1 to 2 years old children in some selected MOH areas (semi-urban) in the district of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
This study was conducted as a cross sectional study. A total of 422 children aged 1-2 years were selected using systematic sampling technique in Maharagama, Piliyandala, Nugegoda and Boralesgamuwa MOH areas in Colombo district, Western province, Sri Lanka. The pre-test was done initially with 10 children aged 1 1/2 year olds.
Prior to the clinical examination of each child, a questionnaire consisting questions regarding tooth brushing, dietary habits, breast and bottle feeding, long term medications(Sweetened medications taken more than 3 months), attending a dental clinic during pregnancy of mother and socio-economical status of the family was administered to mothers of those children. Sterile dental mouth mirrors were used to detect ECC in children.
The prevalence of ECC of the whole sample of 410 children aged 1-2 years was 32.19% and the mean dmft was 2.01 and the mean dmfs was 3.83. From the children who had ECC 95% were untreated. There were significant relationships between dmft and long term use of medications (p < 0.000), intake of sugar with milk (p = 0.013), sweet consumption (p = 0.013), employment of mothers (p < 0.000) and visiting a dental clinic during pregnancy (p < 0.000).
This study documents high prevalence and severity of ECC among 1-2 years old children in four selected MOH areas of Colombo district and caries in most of the children with ECC (95%) were untreated. Results reveal an urgent need to increase awareness among the public about ECC and institute preventive strategies.
PMCID: PMC3228513  PMID: 21902840
18.  Predictors of Dental Caries Progression in Primary Teeth 
Journal of Dental Research  2009;88(3):270-275.
The current evidence on the role of the social, behavioral, and community determinants of dental caries is based on cross-sectional analyses. The available evidence has not been based on analysis of multiple determinants within the same population. This longitudinal study addresses both of these limitations. The study included data from 788 dyads of children and their caregivers (77% follow-up), who were examined in 2002-03 and 2004-05. The families were assessed by calibrated dentists for severity of caries at both time periods. Additionally, the caregivers answered questionnaires administered by trained interviewers. The caries increment was adjusted for reversals. Significant predictors of higher caries increment were higher consumption of soda drinks, older age of child, greater weight-for-age, fewer dental treatment visits, higher baseline caries levels of children and their caregivers, dental fatalism, and neighborhood disadvantage status. The selected risk factors in the final model explained about 20% of the variation in the increment.
PMCID: PMC3317940  PMID: 19329463
dental caries; cohort; social; behavioral; epidemiology
19.  The accuracy of caries risk assessment in children attending South Australian School Dental Service: a longitudinal study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(1):e004311.
To determine the accuracy of the caries risk assessment system and performance of clinicians in their attempts to predict caries for children during routine practice.
Longitudinal study.
Setting and participants
Data on caries risk assessment conducted by clinicians during routine practice while providing care for children in the South Australian School Dental Service (SA SDS) were collected from electronic patient records. Baseline data on caries experience, clinicians’ ratings of caries risk status and child demographics were obtained for all SA SDS patients aged 5–15 years examined during 2002–2005.
Outcome measure
Children’s caries incidence rate, calculated using examination data after a follow-up period of 6–48 months from baseline, was used as the gold standard to compute the sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) of clinicians’ baseline ratings of caries risk. Multivariate binomial regression models were used to evaluate effects of children's baseline characteristics on Se and Sp.
A total of 133 clinicians rated caries risk status of 71 430 children during 2002–2005. The observed Se and Sp were 0.48 and 0.86, respectively (Se+Sp=1.34). Caries experience at baseline was the strongest factor influencing accuracy in multivariable regression model. Among children with no caries experience at baseline, overall accuracy (Se+Sp) was only 1.05, whereas it was 1.28 among children with at least one tooth surfaces with caries experience at baseline.
Clinicians’ accuracy in predicting caries risk during routine practice was similar to levels reported in research settings that simulated patient care. Accuracy was acceptable in children who had prior caries experience at the baseline examination, while it was poor among children with no caries experience.
PMCID: PMC3913088  PMID: 24477318
Epidemiology; caries risk asseessment ; sensitivity; specificity; school dental service
20.  Impact of oral health conditions on the quality of life of preschool children and their families: a cross-sectional study 
Dental caries, traumatic dental injury (TDI) and malocclusion are common oral health conditions among preschool children and can have both physical and psychosocial consequences. Thus, it is important to measure the impact these on the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of children. The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of oral health conditions on the OHRQoL of preschool children and their families.
A preschool-based, cross-sectional study was carried out with 843 preschool children in the city of Campina Grande, Brazil. Parents/caregivers answered the Brazilian Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale and a questionnaire addressing socio-demographic data as well as the parent’s/caregiver’s perceptions regarding their child’s health. Clinical exams were performed by three researchers who had undergone a calibration process for the diagnosis of dental caries, TDI and malocclusion (K = 0.83-0.85). Hierarchical Poisson regression was employed to determine the strength of associations between oral health conditions and OHRQoL (α = 5%). The multivariate model was run on three levels obeying a hierarchical approach from distal to proximal determinants: 1) socio-demographic data; 2) perceptions of health; and 3) oral health conditions.
The prevalence of impact from oral health conditions on OHRQoL was 32.1% among the children and 26.2% among the families. The following variables were significantly associated with a impact on OHRQoL among the children: birth order of child (PR = 1.430; 95% CI: 1.045-1.958), parent’s/caregiver’s perception of child’s oral health as poor (PR = 1.732; 95% CI: 1.399-2.145), cavitated lesions (PR = 2.596; 95% CI: 1.982-3.400) and TDI (PR = 1.413; 95% CI: 1.161-1.718). The following variables were significantly associated with a impact on OHRQoL among the families: parent’s/caregiver’s perception of child’s oral health as poor (PR = 2.116; 95% CI: 1.624-2.757), cavitated lesions (PR = 2.809; 95% CI: 2.009-3.926) and type of TDI (PR = 2.448; 95% CI: 1.288-4.653).
Cavitated lesions and TDI exerted a impact on OHRQoL of the preschool children and their families. Parents’/caregivers’ perception of their child’s oral health as poor and the birth order of the child were predictors of a greater impact on OHRQoL.
PMCID: PMC4002905  PMID: 24745700
Quality of life; Dental caries; Malocclusion; Tooth injuries; Preschool child
21.  Periodic health examination, 1995 update: 2. Prevention of dental caries. The Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. 
OBJECTIVE: To make recommendations, based on current evidence, for practising physicians and dentists on interventions for the prevention of dental caries in their patients. OPTIONS: Systemic fluoride administration, professionally administered fluoride, use of fluoride mouth rinses, fissure sealants, oral-hygiene practices, dietary practices, identification of groups at a high risk of dental caries, and early diagnosis and treatment. OUTCOMES: Reduced prevalence of dental caries and fluorosis, longer retention of teeth and lower treatment costs. EVIDENCE: Several MEDLINE searches were conducted for articles published from January 1980 to December 1992, including relevant review articles. VALUES: Relevant clinical findings were evaluated and categorized with the use of the evidence-based methods and values of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. Recommendations were developed for each method of caries prevention, with reduced incidence of dental caries and improved prevalence of caries-free teeth given high values. BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: The potential benefits of these measures in the long-term are a lower incidence of tooth decay, longer retention of teeth and prevention of fluorosis. The cost saving can be considerable for patients and insurers; however, implementation of some recommendations will be difficult, since the traditional preventive practices of dentists and dental hygienists are not easily changed. RECOMMENDATIONS: There is good evidence that the following manoeuvres are effective in preventing dental caries: use of dentifrices containing fluoride, fluoridation of drinking water, fluoride supplements for patients in areas where there is a low level (0.3 ppm or less) of fluoride in the drinking water, professionally applied topical fluoride and the use of fluoride mouth rinses for patients with very active decay or at a high risk of dental caries and selective use of professionally applied fissure sealants on permanent molar teeth. There is poor evidence that the following manoeuvres are effective in preventing dental caries: professionally applied topical fluoride and the use of fluoride mouth rinses for patients with a low risk of caries, toothbrushing (without a dentifrice containing fluoride) and flossing, cleaning of teeth by a dentist or dental hygienist before topical application of fluoride or at a dental visit and dietary counselling for the general population. There is good evidence to recommend against the use of over-the-counter fluoride mouth rinses by the general population. VALIDATION: These guidelines are compatible with those of the US Preventive Services Task Force. SPONSOR: These guidelines were developed and endorsed by the task force, which is funded by Health Canada. Major funding was provided by the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Toronto, Toronto and the Faculty of Dentistry of Dalhousie University, Halifax.
PMCID: PMC1337757  PMID: 7697577
22.  Vitamin D status of children with severe early childhood caries: a case–control study 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:174.
Severe Early Childhood Caries (S-ECC) affects the health and well-being of young children. There is limited research in this area, though evidence suggests that children with S-ECC are at an increased risk of malnutrition. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between vitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and S-ECC.
This case–control study was conducted from 2009 to 2011 in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 144 preschool children with S-ECC were recruited from a local health centre on the day of their slated dental surgery under general anesthetic. 122 caries-free controls were recruited from the community. Children underwent a blood draw for vitamin D (25(OH)D), calcium, parathyroid hormone, and albumin levels. Parents completed an interviewed questionnaire assessing the child’s nutritional habits, oral health, and family demographics. Analyses included descriptive and bivariate statistics as well as multiple and logistic regression. A p value ≤ 0.05 was significant.
The mean age of participants was 40.8 ± 14.1 months. Children with S-ECC had significantly lower mean 25(OH)D (68.9 ± 28.0 nmol/L vs. 82.9 ± 31.1, p < 0.001), calcium (p < 0.001), and albumin (p < 0.001) levels, and significantly higher parathyroid hormone (p < 0.001) levels than those caries-free. Children with S-ECC were significantly more likely to have vitamin D levels below recognized thresholds for optimal and adequate status (i.e. <75 and <50 nmol/L, respectively). Multiple regression analysis revealed that S-ECC, infrequent milk consumption, and winter season were significantly associated with lower 25(OH)D concentrations. Low 25(OH)D levels, low household income, and poorer ratings of the child’s general health were significantly associated with S-ECC on logistic regression.
Children with S-ECC appear to have relatively poor nutritional health compared to caries-free controls, and were significantly more likely to have low vitamin D, calcium, and albumin concentrations and elevated PTH levels.
PMCID: PMC4231606  PMID: 24160554
Early childhood caries; Vitamin D; Nutritional status; Calcium; Parathyroid hormone; Preschool children
23.  Effectiveness of Preventive Dental Treatments by Physicians for Young Medicaid Enrollees 
Pediatrics  2011;127(3):e682-e689.
To estimate the effectiveness of a medical office–based preventive dental program (Into the Mouths of Babes [IMB]), which included fluoride varnish application, in reducing treatments related to dental caries.
We used longitudinal claims and enrollment data for all children aged 72 months or younger enrolled in North Carolina Medicaid from 2000 through 2006. Regression analyses compared subgroups of children who received up to 6 IMB visits at ages 6 to 35 months with children who received no IMB visits. Analyses were adjusted for child and area characteristics.
Children enrolled in North Carolina Medicaid with ≥4 IMB visits experienced, on average, a 17% reduction in dental-caries–related treatments up to 6 years of age compared with children with no IMB visits. When we simulated data for initial IMB visits at 12 and 15 months of age, there was a cumulative 49% reduction in caries-related treatments at 17 months of age. The cumulative effectiveness declined because of an increase in treatments from 24 to 36 months, an increase in referrals for dental caries occurred with increasing time since fluoride application, and emergence of teeth not initially treated with fluoride.
North Carolina's IMB program was effective in reducing caries-related treatments for children with ≥4 IMB visits. Multiple applications of fluoride at the time of primary tooth emergence seem to be most beneficial. Referrals to dentists for treatment of existing disease detected by physicians during IMB implementation limited the cumulative reductions in caries-related treatments, but also contributed to improved oral health.
PMCID: PMC3065140  PMID: 21357343
dental caries; Medicaid; fluoride varnish; dental treatment; preschool children; physicians
24.  Disease Management of Early Childhood Caries: ECC Collaborative Project 
Until recently, the standard of care for early childhood caries (ECC) has been primarily surgical and restorative treatment with little emphasis on preventing and managing the disease itself. It is now recognized that surgical treatment alone does not address the underlying etiology of the disease. Despite costly surgeries and reparative treatment, the onset and progression of caries are likely to continue. A successful rebalance of risk and protective factors may prevent, slow down, or even arrest dental caries and its progression. An 18-month risk-based chronic disease management (DM) approach to address ECC in preschool children was implemented as a quality improvement (QI) collaborative by seven teams of oral health care providers across the United States. In the aggregate, fewer DM children experienced new cavitation, pain, and referrals to the operating room (OR) for restorative treatment compared to baseline historical controls. The teams found that QI methods facilitated adoption of the DM approach and resulted in improved care to patients and better outcomes overall. Despite these successes, the wide scale adoption and spread of the DM approach may be limited unless health policy and payment reforms are enacted to compensate providers for implementing DM protocols in their practice.
PMCID: PMC3958790  PMID: 24723953
25.  Dentists' use of caries risk assessment and individualized caries prevention for their adult patients: findings from The Dental Practice-Based Research Network 
Few studies have examined dentists' subjective ratings of importance of caries risk factors or tested whether dentists use this information in treatment planning. This study tested several hypotheses related to caries risk assessment and individualized caries prevention.
Data were collected as part of a questionnaire entitled “Assessment of Caries Diagnosis and Caries Treatment”, completed by 547 practitioners who belong to The Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN), a consortium of participating practices and dental organizations.
Sixty-nine percent of DPBRN dentists perform caries risk assessment on their patients. Recently-graduated dentists, dentists with busier practices, and those who believe a dentist can predict future caries were the most likely to use caries risk assessment. The association between caries risk assessment and individualized prevention was weaker than expected (r=.21). Dentists who perform caries risk assessment provide individualized caries prevention to 57% of their patients, compared to 42% for dentists who do not perform caries risk assessment. Based on their responses to radiographic and clinical scenarios in the questionnaire, dentists who use caries risk assessment appear to use this information in restorative decisions.
A substantial percentage of DPBRN dentists do not perform caries risk assessment, and there is not a strong linkage between its use and use of individualized preventive regimens for adult patients. More progress in implementation of current scientific evidence in this area is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3193859  PMID: 21726268

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