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Original Research

Open Access

Dental Caries and its Socio-Behavioral Predictors– An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study

  • Santhosh Kumar1,*,
  • Jyothi Tadakamadla1
  • Prabu Duraiswamy2
  • Suhas Kulkarni3

1Population and Social Health Research Programme, Menzies Health Institute Queensland and School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

2Department of public health dentistry , SRM University Dental College ,Chennai, India

3Department of public health dentistry, Sri Panineeya Mahavidyalaya Institute of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad, India

DOI: 10.17796/1053-4628-40.3.186 Vol.40,Issue 3,May 2016 pp.186-192

Published: 01 May 2016

*Corresponding Author(s): Santhosh Kumar E-mail: santoshkumar.tadaka


Objectives: To assess dental caries status and oral health related behavior of 12 year old school children in relation to urbanization and gender; to analyze the effect of socio-demographic and behavioral variables on dental caries experience. Study design: Study sample comprised 831, 12 year old school children in, India. Caries status was assessed by Decayed, missing, filled teeth (DMFT) index and a 16 item closed ended questionnaire was administered to children for assessing their oral health related knowledge, beliefs and behavior. Results: Mean caries experience and prevalence was 1.94 and 64.9% respectively. Decay was the dominant component of DMFT. Greater proportion of female and urban children presented better oral health knowledge, beliefs and practices. Boys were more liable (OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.10–1.96) for having caries than girls. Children living in rural areas and whose parents were not professionals or semiprofessionals were more likely to experience caries. Children whose mothers were unskilled or house wives were more than twice likely to present caries (OR=2.14, 95% CI-2.03–2.45) than those children whose mothers were skilled or semi-skilled. Children of illiterate fathers and mothers were 1.09 (95% CI, 1.02–1.49) and 1.98 (95% CI, 1.13–1.99) times more likely to have dental caries than those children whose parents had greater than 10 years of education. Children, those who cleaned their teeth less than once a day presented an odds ratio of 1.36 (CI-1.17–1.86) also higher odds of dental caries was observed in children consuming sweets or soft drinks more than once a day. Conclusions: The prevalence and severity of dental caries was low among urban children and girls than their rural and boy counterparts. In general, oral health knowledge, beliefs and practices were low, predominantly in rural and male children. Caries experience was significantly associated with gender, location of residence, brushing frequency, frequency of consumption of soft drinks and sweets, parents' occupation and education.


Dental caries; School children; Socioeconomic factors; Tooth brushing.

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Santhosh Kumar,Jyothi Tadakamadla,Prabu Duraiswamy,Suhas Kulkarni. Dental Caries and its Socio-Behavioral Predictors– An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry. 2016. 40(3);186-192.


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