Regional Disparities in Caries Experience and Associating Factors of Ghanaian Children Aged 3 to 13 Years in Urban Accra and Rural Kpando

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 9;19(9):5771. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095771.


(1) The objective of this socio-epidemiologic cross-sectional study was to investigate caries burdens in Ghanaian children aged 3 to 13 years. The main focus was the analysis of urban-rural disparities and associating socio-demographic and behavioural factors. (2) Standardized caries examination with documentation of decayed, missing, filled deciduous (dmft) and permanent teeth (DMFT) was conducted in 11 school facilities according to WHO guidelines. A parental questionnaire gathered data considering associating factors. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate their influence on caries prevalence and experience using mean dmft+DMFT, Significant Caries Index (SiC), and Specific Affected Caries Index (SaC). (3) In total, 313 study participants were included (mean age 7.7 ± 3.8 years; 156 urban, 157 rural). The urban region showed slightly higher caries prevalence (40.4% vs. 38.9%). The rural region had higher caries experience in mean dmft+DMFT (1.22 ± 2.26 vs. 0.96 ± 1.58), SiC (3.52 ± 2.73 vs. 2.65 ± 1.71), and SaC (3.15 ± 2.68 vs. 2.37 ± 1.68). Lower education and occupation level of parents and rural residence were associated to higher caries values. Sugary diet showed an inverse relation with caries prevalence and oral hygiene practices supported the generally known etiologic correlation. (4) This study highlights the importance of targeting children vulnerable to caries due to social inequality with adequate preventive means. The implementation of regular dental screening and education, e.g. in schools, may be helpful.

PMID:35565164 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph19095771