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Pediatr Dent. 2007 May-Jun;29(3):201-8.

Risk factors for early childhood caries in Canadian preschool children seeking care.

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The purpose of this study was to determine family characteristics, beliefs, and habits that contribute to early and severe caries in young children in Canada.


A survey was administered to: (1) parents of 139 children diagnosed with early childhood caries (ECC) in 5 pediatric dentistry practices in Canada over a 33-month period (group 1); and (2) parents of all normal referrals (carious and noncarious children) in one of the practices over a 3 month period (group 2). Group 2 prevented studying an exclusive or polarized population, and allowed direct comparison between children with decoy and without decoy. The survey responses were compared with caries rates in the children, determined by dental examination, to detect important correlations of family and child factors with the disease level. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses described the strength of the relationships.


Parent responses provided information on: (1) demographics; (2) economic status; (3) birth order; (4) parental education; (5) payment methods; (6) feeding and weaning history; (7) fluoride history; (8) food habits; (9) hygiene; (10) behavior; and (11) medication use. Caries presence and severe caries was linked to: (1) leaving the bottle with a child while sleeping; (2) having problems brushing a child's teeth; (3) prolonged holding of liquids in the mouth; and (4) being Caucasian. The authors did find that bottle use in general and having a difficult child were protective influences against decay.


The factors providing the most caries risk are: (1) being left with a bottle while sleeping; (2) parents having problems brushing the child's teeth; (3) holding liquids in the mouth for prolonged times; and (4) ethnicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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