Objective: To determine the experience, prevalence and severity of caries in primary dentition and associated factors in 6- and 7-year-old schoolchildren.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 247 schoolchildren aged 6 and 7 years in Campeche, Mexico. Demographic and socio-economic information and oral hygiene practices and attitudes variables were collected through questionnaires directed to the mothers of the children. Dental caries were detected using the World Health Organization criteria. Caries experience (decayed, missing and filled teeth [dmft] average), prevalence (dmft > 0) and severity (dmft > 3 and dmft > 6) were determined and analysed using non-parametric tests.
Results: For our sample, 52.2% were boys and 51.8% were 7 years old. The overall average dmft was 1.76 ± 2.46. The prevalence (dmft > 0) of caries was 50.2%, whereas the caries severities were (dmft > 3) 21.5% and (dmft > 6) 6.1%. As the mother’s education level increased, the average dmft and caries prevalence decreased (p < 0.05). When the brushing frequency was lower than brushing once daily, the experience and severity of caries increased (p < 0.05). Surprisingly, we found that when the mother had a positive attitude towards the child’s oral health, the prevalence and experience of caries increased (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: One in two children had dental caries. Oral hygiene practices were associated with dental caries. Certain inequalities in oral health were observed.