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01 October 2010

Prevalence and socio-behavioral determinants of dental caries in Sicilian schoolchildren

Giuseppe PizzoACDEF, Maria R. PiscopoBCEF, Domenica MatrangaACDE, Marcella LuparelloB, Ignazio PizzoBEF, Giovanna GiulianaADG

Med Sci Monit 2010; 16(10): PH83-89 :: ID: 881182


Background: Epidemiological data revealed a marked decline in dental caries prevalence in schoolchildren of Western industrialized countries. In Italy this decline is not well documented, particularly for schoolchildren living in southern Italy. This study investigated the prevalence of caries in schoolchildren in the city of Palermo, Sicily, and assessed the relationship between socio-behavioral determinants and caries.
Material/Methods: A sample of 511 schoolchildren, 153 aged 5 (29.94%) and 358 aged 12 (70.06%), was selected using the cluster sampling technique from a stratified population. The World Health Organization caries diagnostic criteria for Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth and Surfaces for both permanent (DMFT/DMFS) and primary (dmft/dmfs) dentition was used. A questionnaire to assess oral health behaviors and socio-economic factors was completed by the parents. A logistic regression model was estimated, with DMFT/dmft index properly dichotomized as the dependent variable, and oral hygiene, dietary habits, dentist visit attendance, mother’s employment status and level of education as explanatory variables. Two separate analyses were made for 5- and 12-year-old subjects.
Results: The overall prevalence of dental caries was 38.56% in 5-year-olds and 44.97% in 12-year-olds. In the case of the 5-year-olds, maternal educational level was a protective factor for caries, while in the case of the subjects aged 12, frequent snack consumption was significantly associated with caries.
Conclusions: The prevalence of caries in Sicilian schoolchildren was quite high and appears to be related to socio-behavioral determinants (socio-economic background of mothers and frequency of cariogenic snack consumption).

Keywords: Sicily - epidemiology, Questionnaires, Prevalence, Oral Hygiene - statistics & numerical data, Logistic Models, Health Behavior, Educational Status, Dental Caries - prevention & control, Dental Care, DMF Index, Child Behavior, Child, Social Class, Socioeconomic Factors, Tooth, Deciduous - pathology

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750