Prevalence and factors associated with dental caries among children and adults in selected districts in Uganda
Objective: The aim was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with dental caries among adults and children in seven districts of Uganda.
Methods: Participants aged 11-13 (n=1230) and 35-44 years (n=648) were randomly selected from urban and rural areas of Gulu, Soroti, Jinja, Masaka, Kabale, Kabarole and Hoima districts. They were examined by 4 trained and calibrated dentists for dental caries using Decayed, Missing and Filled teeth index as described by World Health Organisation.
Results: Overall mean DMFT score was 0.73 for children and 4.71 for adults. Generally, there was a higher mean DMFT score in the rural (2.19) compared to urban areas (1.97). In all the districts, except Hoima, there was a higher mean DMFT score of children in rural compared to urban. In adults, similar trend was mainly registered in Masaka, Hoima and Gulu districts. Most participants (79.9%, n=1309) occasionally ate sugared snacks. Overall, 95% (n=1795) of the participants cleaned their teeth with plastic tooth brushes (71.7%) and chewing sticks (8.3%).
Conclusion: Although the severity of dental caries was low, the disease was widespread in the study population. A high proportion of participants reported consumption of sugared snacks and drinks, which calls for oral health education.
Keywords: Dental caries prevalence, severity, sugared snacks, tooth brushing, Uganda