Prevalence of early childhood caries among 2-6 years old underprivileged and privileged children in Dar es Salaam

  • D Maro
  • F K Kahabuka


Aim: To determine the differences in prevalence of early childhood caries among underprivileged and privileged children aged 2 to 6 years at different institutions in Dar es Salaam. Design: A cross sectional study. Study participants and methods: Intra oral examination was done to assess the children's caries status scored according to WHO criteria. Results: A total of 333 children comprising 51% boys and 49% girls were examined. About 52% were underprivileged children. Nearly half of the children (49.6%) had caries in their primary dentition, the mean decayed teeth (dt) was 2.4, which was 1.3 among underprivileged and 2.8 among the privileged children. The lower posterior teeth were the most affected by caries and the lower anterior incisors were the least affected. Caries occurrence increased with age from 12.5% at 2 years, to 59% at 5 years, then dropped to 50.6% at six years. Caries was more prevalent among males (55.9% versus 44.8%) (p = 0.049); among the older group children (55.7% versus 40.2%) (p = 0.008,); and among the privileged children (59.1% versus 42.5%) (p = 0.003). Conclusions: Nearly half of the examined children had ECC. The occurrence increased with age. Privileged children were more affected by caries than the underprivileged. The mandibular posterior teeth were the most affected and mandibular anterior teeth the least affected.

Keywords: Early childhood caries, privileged, underprivileged, children

Tanzania Dental Journal Vol. 14 (2) 2007: pp. 53-58

eISSN: 0856-0625