Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Dent. 2003 Nov-Dec;25(6):594-600.

Early childhood caries lesions in preschool children in Kerala, India.

Author information

Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR.



No data are available on possible risk indicators or the prevalence of caries lesions for preschool children under 4 years of age in Kerala, southern India. Therefore, the aims of this study were: (1) to gather data on caries lesion frequency and distribution; (2) to determine any possible associations with feeding habits and oral health care practices.


A sample of 530 children, aged from 8 to 48 months (mean=2.5+/-0.96 years), who attended 13 day care centers were clinically examined for caries lesions using a disposable mouth mirror, tongue spatula, and a torch light. There were 513 dentate children. The caregiver of each child then completed, by interview, a structured questionnaire.


Among the group of 252 girls and 278 boys, the dmft was 1.84+/-2.87 with 56% of the children being caries-lesion free. Fifty-nine (12%) were considered to have early childhood caries (ECC), based on the criteria that smooth surface caries lesions on all 4 maxillary incisor teeth indicated severe ECC. Breast-feeding was practiced by 99% of the mothers, and 5% did so exclusively. Generally, breast-feeding was on demand. Statistically significant correlations were found between caries lesions and the child's dental condition, as perceived by the mother or caregiver (P<.0001), the dental status of the caregiver (P=.0417), consumption of snacks (P=.0177), giving of sweets as a reward (P<.0001), cleaning of the child's mouth (P<.0001), oral hygiene status of the child (P<.0001) and low socioeconomic status, as measured by income (P<.0001).


From the results of this study of preschool children in Kerala, the groups at high risk from dental caries lesions are: (1) those with poor oral hygiene status; (2) those who consume snacks and are given sweets as rewards; (3) those belonging to a lower socioeconomic class.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center