Do expectant mothers know how early childhood caries can be prevented? A cross-sectional study

R. ElKarmi*, A. Aljafari, H. Eldali, M. T. Hosey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
295 Downloads (Pure)


Aim: To evaluate the awareness, knowledge, and beliefs about early childhood caries (ECC) among a sample of expectant mothers and to determine their preferences to help design appropriate interventions. Methods: Expectant mothers attending for antenatal care at a large public hospital were interviewed and asked to complete a questionnaire about ECC. The questionnaire was pre-tested and validated and contained questions about risk factors, presentations, management, and complications of ECC. Participants were also asked about their preferred method for oral health education about ECC. Data were analysed using SPSS for Windows release and descriptive statistics were generated. Results: Four-hundred expectant mothers were approached and 380 (95%) agreed to participate. 59% reported brushing twice or more daily, but only 10% attended the dentist regularly. Only 16% thought that tooth brushing should start as soon as primary teeth erupt. Most (68%) thought that bottle feeding does not need to stop before the age of two. The majority believed that sugar is better consumed between meals (81%) and in portions throughout the day (85%). Only 12% thought that a child should have their first dental visit by the age of one. Educational level influenced knowledge on several aspects of ECC prevention. The participants suggested leaflets (38%) and social media (24%) as methods for oral-health-education delivery. Conclusion: Expectant mothers lack adequate knowledge about ECC prevention. There is a need for interventions that deliver advice on child toothbrushing, dietary practices, and dental attendance as part of wider general-health promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-601
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Archives of Paediatric Dentistry
Issue number6
Early online date19 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Caries prevention
  • Dental care for children
  • Oral health knowledge


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