Early Childhood Caries among a Bedouin community residing in the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem

Livny, Alon; Assali, Rula; Sgan-Cohen, Harold D.
January 2007
BMC Public Health;2007, Vol. 7, p167
Academic Journal
Background: ECC is commonly prevalent among underprivileged populations. The Jahalin Bedouin are a severely deprived, previously nomadic tribe, dwelling on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. The aim of this study was to assess ECC prevalence and potentially associated variables. Methods: 102 children aged 12-36 months were visually examined for caries, mothers' anterior dentition was visually subjectively appraised, demographic and health behavior data were collected by interview. Results: Among children, 17.6% demonstrated ECC, among mothers, 37.3% revealed "fairly bad" anterior teeth. Among children drinking bottles there was about twice the level of ECC (20.3%) than those breast-fed (13.2%). ECC was found only among children aged more than one year (p < 0.001); more prevalent ECC (55.6%) was found among large (10-13 children) families than among smaller families (1-5 children: 13.5%, 6-9 children: 15.6%) (p = 0.009); ECC was more prevalent among children of less educated mothers (p = 0.037); ECC was more prevalent among mothers with "fairly poor" anterior dentition (p = 0.04). Oral hygiene practices were poor. Conclusion: ECC levels in this community were not very high but neither low. This changing population might be on the verge of a wider dental disease "epidemic". Public health efforts clearly need to be invested towards the oral health and general welfare of this community.


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