Research on dental caries and its risk factors in young children

12:12, 10 February, 2016
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On 15 February at 16:00 in a public session of the Doctoral Committee of Medicine, Rīga Stradiņš University, which will take place in the Hippocrates lecture-theatre (16 Dzirciema Street, Rīga), Simona Skrīvele will defend her doctoral thesis “Caries and its Risk Factors in Children at the Age of 2–3 in Pre-school Education Institutions in Latvia”.

Dental caries is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide, and individuals are predisposed to this disease throughout all their life. The age of a patient is important to assess dental caries risks. Particular attention to oral health of children has to be paid when deciduous teeth erupt, as well as at the age of 2-3 when the deciduous dentition has formed. All caries risk factors have to be viewed in the aggregate as each factor separately has a less chance to affect development of dental caries.

In order to assess the dental caries risks, several aspects have to be taken into account: general medical anamnesis, clinical examination, eating habits, use of fluoride, level of cariogenic bacteria in saliva, functions of saliva and sociodemographic factors. Recently, attention is paid also to social, economic and behaviour factors as they possibly may promote caries.

The results of the research evidence that spread and intensity of dental caries in children of the of age 2-3 in pre-school educational establishments in Riga is high, and plague and gingivitis (inflammation of gums) affect the development of dental caries. The levels of Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus in saliva of children at the age of 2-3 are high, and this may promote the development of dental caries. Social factors like education and employment of parents, as well as their attitude towards oral health significantly impact the development of dental caries in 2-3 years old children. Use of products and drinks that promote the development of dental caries, as well as irregular brushing of teeth are the most important caries risk factors for children at the age of 2-3 years.

The results of the research evidence that mothers have insufficient information and knowledge of taking care for teeth of their children, nutrition and the dental caries risk factors.

In co-operation with other countries (Germany, Brazil, Belarus and Russia), the results regarding oral health and social conditions obtained according to the same methodology proved that the data obtained in Rīga do not differ significantly from the data obtained in other countries.