Prevalence and determinants of early childhood caries in Italy

Di seguito viene proposto l’abstract della ricerca “Prevalence and determinants of early childhood caries in Italy” pubblicata su European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry e presentata durante il XX Congresso nazionale SIOI.

S. Colombo, S. Gallus, M. Beretta, A. Lugo, S. Scaglioni, P. Colombo, M. Paglia, R. Gatto,
G. Marzo, S. Caruso, L. Paglia

Aim Still limited data from representative surveys are available on the prevalence of Early Childhood Caries (ECC; i.e., the presence of one or more decayed, missing, or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a child aged 71 months or younger), particularly for infant. We conducted a survey in Italian children aged 0 to 71 months.
Materials and methods A cross-sectional study on ECC was conducted in Italy in 2018 on a sample of parents who were members of an online panel. Using an online questionnaire, 2,522 parents provided information on a total sample of 3,000 children, representative of the Italian population aged 0–71 months.
Results ECC prevalence was 8.2% overall, 2.9% in children aged 0–23 months, 6.2% in children aged 24–47 and 14.7% in children aged 48–71 months (p for trend<0.001). ECC was more frequently observed among children using baby bottle with milk to fall asleep (multivariate odds ratio, OR, 1.36, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.03-1.78), baby bottle with sugary beverages (OR 2.87, 95% CI: 2.05-4.03) and pacifier with sugary substances (OR 2.49, 95% CI: 1.79-3.47), consuming beverages other than water (OR for ≥1/day vs never 2.29, 95% CI: 1.35-3.90), a higher number of snacks between meals (OR for ≥3 vs <2 meals 2.05, 95% CI: 1-38-3.06), a lower frequency of tooth brushing (OR for <1 vs ≥2 times/day 2.26, 95% CI: 1.42-3.58) and a high number of siblings (compared to 0, OR for ≥2 siblings 2.28, 95% CI: 1.56- 3.34). ECC increased with parents’ mean age (p for trend=0.048), parents’ smoking habit (OR for at least one smoker 1.54, 95% CI: 1.17-2.03), parents’ poor oral hygiene (OR for ≤1 vs >1 time/ day of tooth brushing 1.42, 95% CI: 1.03-1.96) and high number of caries (OR for ≥7 vs 0 caries was 2.38, 95% CI: 1.35-4.20).
Conclusions The present large and representative survey for the first time shows that ECC might be frequent also among infants. We confirm that ECC might be prevented if parents follow simple good practices. Information campaign and intervention programmes are needed to inform parents about unfavourable habits that favour the onset of ECC.