Prevalence of Early Childhood Caries and Associated Risk Factors among Preschool Children in Nablus City, Palestine

Discussion Committee: 
Dr.Amirah Shaheen / Supervisor
Dr. Ilham El Khatib / External Examiner
Dr. HamzehAlzabadi / Internal Examiner
Dr.Amirah Shaheen / Supervisor
Suad Ayed Saed Samara
Background: Early Childhood caries (ECC) is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases with a multifactorial etiology that affects children worldwide, and adversely affects the quality of life of children and their families. The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence of ECC among preschool aged children in Nablus City and the associated risk factors. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 525 Palestinian children aged 3-5 years old in Nablus city, a stratified cluster sampling methods was utilized to choose the kindergartens, then self administered questionnaire and consent form was applied to parents before dental examination is done. The study was approved by the graduate studies scientific board and an Institutional Review Board (IRB) at AN-Najah National University. Result: The prevalence of caries among preschool aged children in Nablus City was found to be high (79.2%) with mean dmft ± SD ( 4.5±3.98). Data analysis revealed significant associations between prevalence of ECC and family monthly income [OR=2.11; 95% CI=1.37-3.26, P = 0.001] and drinking soda [OR=1.54; 95% CI 1.12-2.100, P =0.007]. This study also revealed significant associations between mean dmft (decayed, missing, filled tooth) and “ age”, “family monthly income”, “child teeth brushing”, “dental visit” and “father education” were P= 0.003, <.0001, 0.02, .0001, <.0001; respectively. However no association were found between ECC and gender, child birth weight, mother education, and feeding patterns or its duration. Conclusion: This study showed that high prevalence of ECC among Palestinian children 79.2% in children aged between three to five years old in Nablus City with mean dmft ± SD (4.5 ± 3.98). ECC prevalence and severity were found to be associated with drinking soda, family socioeconomic status, age and teeth brushing. Results reveal the need for an urgent action to increase awareness about ECC and the importance of primary teeth through preventive strategies to control the ECC in children
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