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Int Dent J. 2016 Aug;66(4):215-20. doi: 10.1111/idj.12223. Epub 2016 Apr 8.

Prevalence of dental caries and toothbrushing habits among preschool children in Khartoum State, Sudan.

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Department of Community Oral Health, University of the Western Cape, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa.



Dental caries in preschool children remains a major dental public health problem and affects significant numbers of children in developed and developing countries. The incidence is increasing in developing countries, such as Sudan, because of lifestyle changes, absence of oral health-preventive services and inadequate access to oral health care.


This study assessed the prevalence of dental caries and toothbrushing habits among 3- to 5-year-old preschool children in Khartoum State, Sudan, and described the correlation between the mean decayed, missing and filled tooth (dmft) score for primary teeth with toothbrushing and sugar consumption.


The subjects were 553 preschool children with their mothers/guardians, selected by random sampling from the kindergartens of the seven localities of Khartoum State, Sudan. Data were obtained through clinical examination using a modified World Health Organization (WHO) examination data-capture sheet and through structured administered interviews with mothers/guardians.


The prevalence of dental caries was 52.4%, with a mean dmft score of 2.3. There was an increase in the dmft scores with increasing age. The frequency of children who brushed their teeth regularly at least once a day was high (83.4%), lower dmft scores were associated with starting toothbrushing earlier in life and with increased frequency of brushing per day. Eating sugar-containing food was significantly associated with dmft score.


The prevalence of dental caries was found to be high among 3- to 5-year-old preschool children, and caries experience increased with age. This was mostly associated with sugar consumption and therefore calls for educational interventions to control sugar intake. The toothbrushing habit is well established in Khartoum State, Sudan, as a large number of children were found to be brushing their teeth regularly. No significant association was found between feeding habits and dmft score.


Dental caries; dmft; preschool children; toothbrushing

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