Correlation between caries experience in Sudanese school children and dietary habits, according to a food frequency questionnaire and a modified 24-hr recall method

  • MN Nazik
  • MK Malde
  • MF Ahmed
  • TA Trovik


World-wide epidemiological studies have found positive correlations between sugar-sweetened snack intake and dental caries in developing countries and the contrary in developed countries. The pattern of sugar-sweetened snack intake and the magnitude of its effect on the prevalence of dental caries differs from one population to another rendering it important to study each situation separately. In Sudan, to the best of our knowledge, the relation between dietary habits and oral health has not been reported previously, with the exception of a single study by Emslie, in 1966. The aims of this study among 12-year-old public and private school attendees in Khartoum were to test the hypothesis that the frequency of intake of sugar-sweetened snacks and beverages is associated with caries experience and socio-demographics, using a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and Food Behaviour Checklist (FBC). A school-based survey was conducted among the 12-year-old school children of Khartoum state. Data was collected through face to face interviewer administered questionnaires. Decayed, Missing and Filled teeth (DMFT) index was measured using WHO criteria. No significant association was found between the total frequency of intake of the listed sugar-sweetened items and caries experience (DMFT >0 n=298). The 7 food items were inserted in a multiple variable logistic regression model (Nagelkerke 0.026]) alongside the socio-demographic variables with the Higher caries Experience Group as the dependent, and the soft drinks demonstrated a statistically significant association (OR 1.5 95% CI [1.0 – 2.4]). The hypothesis that the frequency of intake of sugar-sweetened snacks or beverages is associated with caries experience and socio-demographics in Khartoum 12-year-old school children is accepted in the higher caries experience group in that the high consumption of soft drinks was found to be a risk indicator for dental caries. School health promotion programs should be established, with the common risk factor approach in mind, thus, addressing the risk factor of poor dietary habits, which is common to many chronic conditions within a wider context.

Keywords: Sudan, Caries, Dietary habits, Risk

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Volume 13 No. 2, April 2013

Author Biographies

MN Nazik
Division of Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Khartoum, Sudan
MK Malde
National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) Bergen, Norway
MF Ahmed
Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, Glasgow, UK
TA Trovik
Department of Clinical Dentistry - University of Tromsø, Norway

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358