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.

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