n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Prevalence and causes of early childhood caries in children less than 6 years old at Tembisa Hospital, South Africa : dental public health

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Perceptions in society suggest that parents/caregivers of children <6yrs neglect their primary-teeth believing that dental caries in primary-teeth is a natural way of exfoliation. This study investigated caries prevalence in children <6yrs at Tembisa hospital, and further identify any relationship between caries and some causal factors. A cross-sectional survey design was engaged, with a population sample consisting of 245 children <6yrs whose parents gave consent for participation. A modified WHO Oral Health Assessment Form was used during the children's oral examination. The overall prevalence of dental caries and mean decayed-missing-filled-teeth (dmft) score was found to be 51.02% and 3.16, respectively. The prevalence of dental caries was highest among the 4.1-to-6.0yrs (77.36%). Among the 2.1-to-4.0yrs was 58.93%; and among 0-to-2yrs was 16.25%. Some of the children (59.38%) were caries-free; whilst 40.63% had dental-caries. A proportion of 58.23% who were bottle-fed had caries; whilst 41.77% were caries-free. 35(52.24%) children who were both breast-fed and bottle-fed had caries. Children whose teeth were regularly cleaned and which were found caries-free were 94 (47.72%). Older children (4.1-to-6.0yrs) had 18 chances of developing caries [OR=18.4; (p-value=0.000)]. Bottle-fed children were twice-likely to develop dental-caries as compared to those who were breast-fed [OR=2.32;(P-value=0.03)]. Whilst evidence remains inconclusive on the scientific effects of dental-caries between permanent and primary teeth; from these findings we conclude that increase in age does seem to be significantly associated with dental-caries development in primary teeth in this area of South Africa. The findings suggest that there are equal chances of developing dental caries among children whose teeth are cleaned and those not regularly cleaned.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error