Early childhood caries amongst pre-school children and their caregivers' perceptions of oral health in a Kenyan rural setting
Objective: To evaluate the oral health knowledge and attitudes among caregivers of three to five year old children in a rural setting in Kenya.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Setting: Kiamba Division of Kiambu County, Kenya.
Subjects: Three hundred and forty three caregivers participated in the study. A pretested self-administered questionnaire on the causes of dental caries was sent to the caregivers, and 67% of them were returned.
Results: Slightly over half (59.5%) of the children had dental caries. The majority of the caregivers (96.1%) reported that consumption of sugary foods causes tooth decay. Approximately 85% of the caregivers reported that deciduous teeth were important but 57% preferred extraction of carious deciduous tooth.
Conclusion: Whereas the knowledge of and attitude towards oral health among caregivers was relatively high, the role of infant feeding practices on dental caries was reportedly low. Although the majority of the children brushed their teeth, less than half of them received assistance from their caregivers.