Caries experience in preschool children referred for specialist dental care in hospital
Background : Increasing numbers of preschool children are being referred for specialist dental management in a paediatric hospital. Most cases have severe early childhood caries and require comprehensive management under general anaesthesia. The present study investigated risk factors for disease presence at initial consultation. Methods : A convenience sample of 125 children under four years of age from the north Brisbane region were examined and caries experience recorded using dmft and dmfs indices. A self-administered questionnaire obtained information regarding social, demographic, birth, neonatal, infant feeding and dental health behaviour variables. The data were analysed using the chi-square and one-way analysis of variance procedures. Results : Ninety-four per cent of referred children had severe ECC with mean dmft of 10.5 ᠳ.8 and mean dmfs of 27.1 ᠱ5.1. Prevalence of severe ECC was significantly higher in children allowed a sweetened liquid in the infant feeding bottle (99 per cent) and allowed to sip from an infant feeding bottle during the day (100 per cent). Mean dmfs was significantly higher in children allowed to sleep with a bottle (28.7) and sip from a bottle during the day (29.9), children from a non-Caucasian background (31.8), those children that commenced regular toothbrushing between 6 to 12 months of age (28.1), had no current parental supervision of daily tooth-brushing (34.2) and had not taken daily fluoride supplements (27.8), vitamin supplements (27.8) or prescription medicine previously (27.6).
Australian Dental Journal