Early childhood caries and oral hygiene practices among preschool children in Mangaluru city

Savitha Krishnaswamy, Jagannath Purushotham, Krishna Bhat


Background: Dental caries in young children is a serious public health problem that is highly underestimated in a country like India as it is not life threatening. The rapid westernization and urbanization in Mangaluru city has led to the inclusion of more refined sugars, frequent snacking habit and intake of more chocolates and candies in children, making them more susceptible to early childhood caries (ECC). This study intends to determine prevalence of ECC.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 240 preschool children aged 3-6 years studying in private preschools in the North Zone of Mangaluru city, Karnataka, India. Data collection was done using semi-structured and self-administered questionnaire given to the parent; examination of the child’s oral cavity was also done.

Results: The prevalence of ECC in preschool children in Mangaluru City was 57.5%. A statistically significant association was seen between oral hygiene practices and father's education level (p=0.033). The oral hygiene practices were found to be satisfactory with the majority (62.1%) of them following good oral hygiene practices.

Conclusions: Lack of awareness about ECC has further contributed to the increase in the prevalence and severity of the problem hence revealing the need for effective preventive methods. 


ECC, Preschool children, India

Full Text:



Koya S, Ravichandra KS, Arunkumar VA, Sahana S, Pushpalatha HM. Prevalence of Early Childhood Caries in Children of West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, South India: An Epidemiological Study. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2016;9(3):251–5.

Statement on Early Childhood Caries, 2000. Available at: -on-early-childhood-caries. Accessed on 18 August 2018.

Naidu R, Nunn J, Kelly A. Socio-behavioural factors and early childhood caries: a cross-sectional study of preschool children in central Trinidad. BMC Oral Health. 2013;13:30.

Livny A, Assali R, Cohen HDS. Early Childhood Caries among a Bedouin community residing in the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. BMC Public Health. 2007;7:167.

Winnier JJ, Parmar A, Mehta S, Bambal K, Bhatia R. Oral Hygiene Maintenance in Children- A Survey of Parental Awareness. Int J Oral Health Med Res. 2015;2(4):1-5.

Duangthip D, Shiqian SG, Chin Man Lo E, Chu CH. Early childhood caries among 5- to 6-year-old children in Southeast Asia. Int Dent J. 2017;67:98–106.

Prevention is better than treatment. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2015;93(9):589-664.

Alosaimi B, Alturki G, Alnofal S, Alosaimi N, Ansari SH. Assessing Untreated Dental Caries among Private and Public Preschool Children in Riyadh, a Cross-Sectional Study Design. J Dental Oral Health. 2017;23:4469-75.

Johansson I, Holgerson PL, Kressin NR, Nunn ME, Tanner AC. Snacking habits and caries in young children. Caries 422 Res. 2010;44:421–30.

Carino KMG, Shinada K, Kawaguchi Y. Early childhood caries in Northern Philippines. Community Dentistry Oral Epidemiol. 2003;31:81-9.