Prevalence of dental caries and dental care utilisation in preschool urban children enrolled in a comparative-effectiveness study

Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. 2011 Jun;12(3):133-8. doi: 10.1007/BF03262794.


Aim: To assess dental caries prevalence and dental care utilisation in pre-school children enrolled in urban childcare centres that participated in a comparative effectiveness study.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: Caries prevalence was determined in a cohort of children 12-60 months of age. Eligible children were randomised into two groups: group one received a traditional visual/tactile oral examination and group two received a teledentistry examination. Questionnaires were administered to the children's parents/guardians to gather demographics and information about using dental and medical services.

Results: Of 234 children examined, approximately 28% had caries experience. The mean dfs score was 1.56 with a range of 0-34 carious surfaces. The mean dfs score for the children examined by means of teledentistry was 1.75 and for the children examined by means of the traditional visual/tactile method mean dfs was 1.40; the means between the two groups were not significantly different. Twenty-six children showed evidence of being treated for dental caries. According to the parents, 31.5% of the children had never had a dental check-up before, only 3% of the children were lacking dental insurance and majority of the parents (92%) did not perceive accessing dental care for the children as a problem.

Statistics: The Wilcoxon Mann-Whitney test and the Kruskal-Wallis test were used to assess statistical differences among groups of children.

Conclusions: The data showed that 28% of the children had caries and, of these, 61% had never been treated for caries, thus indicating that continued efforts are needed to improve oral health care utilisation by inner-city preschool children.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Caries / diagnosis*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Parents
  • Poverty Areas
  • Prevalence
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telepathy*