Background: The prevalence of dental caries in preschool children has not been declining in the recent past. A growing body of research suggests that social and behavioural factors may play a considerable role in the aetiology of dental caries. Aims: The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between the family structure and dental caries experience in preschool children. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in children aged 3–5 years in Wattala Divisional Secretariat area in Colombo district of Sri Lanka. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information from the parents on family structure including the size, birth rank, age spacing between the next oldest and youngest sibling and age of parent at birth of the subject. The dental caries status of the children was assessed using WHO standard criteria for primary teeth. Results: Family size, birth rank, age difference between the subject and next oldest sibling and parent’s age at birth of the subject were significantly associated with the dental caries experience of the preschool children at bivariate level. In a stepwise multiple linear regression analysis family size, birth rank and the parent’s age at birth of the child remained statistically significant. Conclusion: The present findings suggest that family structure might significantly affect the caries experience of preschool children.

Amarasena N, Ekanayaka AN, Herath L, Miyazki H: Tobacco use and oral hygiene as risk indicators for periodontitis. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2002;30:115–123.
Amarasena N, Ekanayaka AN, Herath L, Miyazaki H: Socio-demographic risk indicators for tooth mortality in rural Sri Lankans. Asia Pac J Public Health 2003;15:105–110.
Bennett S, Woods T, Liyanage WM, Smith DL: A simplified general method for cluster-sample surveys of health in developing countries. World Health Stat Q 1991;44:98–106.
Bratthall D, Hänsel-Petersson G, Sundberg H: Reasons for the caries decline: what do the experts believe? Eur J Oral Sci 1996;104:416–422.
Johnsen DC: The preschool ‘passage’: an overview of dental health. Dent Clin North Am 1995;39:695–707.
Johnsen DC, Pappas LR, Cannon D, Goodman JS: Social factors and diet diaries of caries-free and high-caries 2- to 7-year olds presenting for dental care in West Virginia. Pediatr Dent 1980;2:279–286.
Kiniros M, McCabe M: Familial and maternal factors affecting the dental health and dental attendance of preschool children. Community Dent Health 1995;12:226–229.
Marthaler TM: Changes in dental caries 1953–2003. Caries Res 2004;38:173–181.
Marthaler TM, O’Mullane D, Vrbric V: The prevalence of dental caries in Europe, 1990–95. Caries Res 1996;30:237–255.
Mattila ML, Rautava P, Ojanlatva A, Paunio P, Hyssälä L, Helenius H, Sillanpää M: Will the role of family influence dental caries among seven-year-old children? Acta Odontol Scand 2005;63:73–84.
Mattila M-L, Rautava P, Sillanpaa M, Paunio P: Caries in five year old children and associations with family-related factors. J Dent Res 2000;79:875–881.
Ministry of Health: National Oral Health Survey 2002/2003. Colombo, Ministry of Health, 2011.
Nadanovsky P, Sheiham A: Relative contribution of dental services to changes in caries levels of 12-year-old children in 18 industrialized countries in 1970s and the early 1980s. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1995;23:331–339.
Niji R, Arita K, Abe Y, Lucas ME, Nishino M, Mitome M: Maternal age at birth and other risk factors in early childhood caries. Pediatr Dent 2010;32:493–498.
Pitts NB, Palmer JD: The dental caries experience of 5-, 12- and 14-year-old children in Great Britain: surveys coordinated by the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry in 1991/92, 1992/3 and 1990–91. Community Dent Health 1994;11:42–52.
Primosch RE: Effect of family structure on the dental caries experience of children. J Public Health Dent 1982;42:155–168.
Tiberia MJ, Milnes AR, Feigal RJ, Morley KR, Richardson DS, Croft WG, Cheung WS: Risk factors for early childhood caries in Canadian preschool children seeking care. Pediatr Dent 2007;29:201–208.
Waldman HB: Preschool children: need and use of dental services. Dent Clin North Am 1995;39:887–896.
World Health Organization: Oral Health Surveys – Basic Methods, ed 4. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1997.
World Health Organization: The World Oral Health Report 2003. Continuous Improvement of Oral Health in the 21st Century – The Approach of the WHO Global Oral Health Programme. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2003.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.