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Pediatr Dent. 2005 Mar-Apr;27(2):114-20.

Determinants of early childhood caries (ECC) in a rural Manitoba community: a pilot study.

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Department of Dental Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



Preschool oral health is often overlooked as an important aspect of childhood health and well-being. The purposes of this study were to: (1) determine the dental status of 3-year-old children in the community of Carman, Manitoba, Canada; and (2) identify the principal determinants of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) in 2 consecutive years.


All children and mothers attending a preschool health screening fair were invited to participate. Study procedures included a retrospective interview with parents and dental examination of the child. Statistical analyses included ANOVA, chi-square, and multiple regression. A P value of <.05 denoted significance.


A total of 61 children participated (mean age=45.7+/-3.4 months). The prevalence of ECC was 44%, while the mean deft was 2+/-3.3. Increased caries activity and ECC were associated with lower maternal level of education (P<.01). Family size was associated with deft scores (P=.03) while the presence of debris was also associated with ECC (P<.05).


ECC prevalence among these 3-year-olds is less than exhibited among other Canadian preschool children. Factors associated with ECC included debris on the primary teeth and low maternal education. Factors most associated with increased caries activity included low maternal education and increased family size. In addition, parents were able to reliably assess their child's dental health status. Larger epidemiological studies of ECC are needed to better assess prevalence and risk factors. Such data may, therefore, assist in identifying those children at greatest risk for ECC. It may also help in the redirection of scarce resources to effective preventive oral health interventions, as these children have an increased caries burden along the continuum of childhood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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