Purpose: The aim of this longitudinal study was to evaluate the association between early childhood caries (ECC) and severe ECC (S-ECC) and social, dietary, and behavioral risk factors.
Methods: A representative sample of low-income 0- to 5-year-old children was selected from Detroit. Children and their caregivers were examined for the presence and severity of dental caries. Trained interviewers administered questionnaires assessing social, dietary, and behavioral factors.
Results: A total of 1,021 child and caregiver dyads were examined in wave 1. Of these, 788 (77%) were re-examined in wave 2. ECC and S-ECC were highly prevalent in this cohort By 2 years of age, 7% of the children had ECC without S-ECC (ECC-only) and 27% had S-ECC. The regression model found that age of the child and caregiver, child's gender, and caregivers' fatalistic oral health beliefs were significantly associated with higher odds ratios of developing ECC-only and S-ECC. Consumption of soda beverages was associated with developing S-ECC. Religiosity was protective against ECC-and S-ECC.
Conclusions: Early childhood caries and severe early childhood caries are highly prevalent in low-income African American children. Intake of soda beverages by the children and the caregivers' fatalistic oral health beliefs and religiosity were significant determinants of ECC and S-ECC.