Caries increment over 2 years in preschool children: a life course approach

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Longitudinal study to investigate how the dental caries in primary teeth progress with increasing age is still lacking.


To describe the development of new caries over 2 years and to identify risk factors that can predict new caries development.


A random sample of preschool children aged 3–4 years was surveyed and followed up when they reached 5–6 years of age in Hong Kong. Dental caries status was assessed using the dmft index. Negative binomial regression was performed to investigate the factors collected at baseline that could predict the caries increment over 2 years.


Totally 358 children attended both examinations. The mean caries increment over 2 years was 0.9. Results of the negative binomial regression showed that children who used nursing bottles during sleep when they were young (P = 0.013), whose toothbrushing began after 12 months (P = 0.005), who took snack once or more daily (P < 0.001), and whose parents had 9 or fewer years of education attainment (P = 0.002) had significantly higher caries increment.


New caries development of Hong Kong preschool children was low. Children’s feeding, snaking and brushing habits, and parents’ education attainment were the significant predictors for new caries development of preschool children.

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