Title: Comparison of data on Early Childhood Caries (ECC) with previous data for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) in an Italian kindergarten population
Abstract: Aim This was to assess the prevalence of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) among preschool children attending nursery schools and to compare the results with those of a previous survey where the investigators used the term and diagnosis for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) syndrome. Methods A cross-sectional survey of 1,006 children aged 1-6 years was carried out. WHO recommendations for oral health surveys were used for caries diagnosis (non cavitated lesions were excluded). In addition, a comparison was made for prevalence of ECC between immigrant and native born children. Data were compared for ECC in the present survey with BBTD data in a previous study (1994) in the same area with a sample of 401 children aged 4 years. All examinations were by one examiner (Cohen’s Kappa=0.96). Results Of the 1,006 children originally selected 52 children aged more than 71 months were excluded according to published ECC definition and diagnostic criteria. The overall sample was 29 children aged <36 months; 271 aged 3 years; 364 aged 4 years and 290 aged 5 years. ECC was diagnosed in 19.7% of the overall sample. The prevalence of ECC (and S-ECC) were respectively by age: <36 months S-ECC=17.2%; at 3 years: 13.28% (6.64%); at 4 years: 18.95% (9.34%); at 5 years: 26.9% (12.75%). In the native born children (916) the ECC was 18.34%, while in immigrants (38) it was 52.63% (p>0.001). In 1994 the prevalence of BBTD syndrome was 11.9% and in the present study 6.5%. Conclusion The ECC prevalence, as, ECC and severe (S-ECC) ,increased with age. In immigrant children ECC was 3 times (S-ECC 6 times) more frequent than in native born. Using the BBTD diagnosis the prevalence had dropped from 11.9% in 1994 to 6.5% in the present survey.