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J Public Health Dent. 2008 Fall;68(4):188-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2007.00061.x.

Oral health of young children in Mississippi Delta child care centers: a second look at early childhood caries risk assessment.

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  • 1Social Science Research Center, P.O. Box 5287, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA.



To identify the predictors of early childhood caries and urgent dental treatment need among primarily African-American children in child care centers in the Delta region of Mississippi. The purpose of this study was to replicate predictors of caries and urgent dental treatment needs that were identified in an earlier study conducted in Delta child care centers and to assess additional caries risk factors not collected in the original study.


Children in 19 child care centers were examined by the dentists, and the parents provided data on oral health practices, oral health history, and on children's oral health-related quality of life (QOL). The dentists also assessed visible plaque and tested levels of mutans streptococci. Predictors of caries and treatment need among children 24 to 71 months of age were examined using logistic regression.


Two parent predictors of caries identified in the earlier study (parent flossing and soft/sugary drink consumption) were not predictive in the current study. Parent history of abscess continued to predict their child's urgent need for treatment. Young children's level of salivary mutans streptococci, maxillary incisor visible plaque, and parents' reports of child oral health-related QOL measures predicted the presence of both caries and urgent treatment need. Some expected predictors, such as frequency of child's toothbrushing, were not predictive of caries.


Parental abscess and parent's report of the child's oral health-related OOL are risk indicators for poor oral health outcomes that could be used by nondental personnel to identify young children in need of early preventive intervention and dental referral

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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