Parity, Maternal-Child Oral Interactions and Early Childhood Caries (ECC) among Northern Nigerian Hausa children

Author(s): Elizabeth O Oziegbe, Lynne A Schepartz

Objective: To determine the relationship of parity, maternal-child oral interactions, child socio-demographic characteristics and child oral health behaviours with early childhood caries (ECC). Predisposing factors including mother-child kissing, maternal premastication of food and mother-child sharing of utensils were considered.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving 346 Hausa children less than 72 months of age and their mothers. A structured intervieweradministered questionnaire was used to obtain information on the mother’s parity level, mother-child oral transfer behaviours, child sociodemographic factors, child oral health practices, and feeding patterns. Clinical examination was carried out to determine caries experience (DMFT/dmft) in the mother and child and child oral hygiene status (OHI-S). Association with ECC was evaluated through Fisher’s exact tests. Binary regression analysis was used to investigate predisposing factors for ECC. Significance was inferred at p<0.05.

Results: Hausa children had a low caries prevalence of 3.2% with a mean dmft score of 0.08+0.50 and most had fair oral hygiene scores. Increasing child age, use of fluoridated toothpaste and provision of premasticated food were significantly associated with child caries experience. Mother’s parity level and caries experience were not associated with ECC.

Conclusion: The finding that fluoridated toothpaste use and premastication were associated with caries experience in the children suggests that maternal oral health knowledge and mother-child oral interactions influence ECC in children.

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