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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Early childhood caries in preschool children of Kosovo - a serious public health problem

Agim Begzati1*, Merita Berisha2 and Kastriot Meqa3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Medical Faculty, University of Prishtina, Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

2 National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo, Department of Social Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Prishtina, Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

3 Department of Periodontology and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Medical Faculty, University of Prishtina, Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:788  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-788

Published: 24 December 2010



Even though it has been widely studied, early childhood caries (ECC) remains a serious public health problem, especially in countries where there is no national program of oral health assessment and no genuine primary oral health care, such as in Kosovo. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of ECC and analyze caries risk factors.


The subjects were 1,008 preschool children, selected by stratified random cluster sampling, in the municipality of Prishtina, capital of Kosovo. Data were collected through clinical examination and interviews. Dmft data were recorded according to WHO criteria. Bacterial examination (CRT bacteria test) and plaque test of Greene-Vermillion were used.


The mean dmft of preschool children was found to be 5.8. The prevalence of ECC was 17.36%, with a mean dmft of 11 ± 3.6. Streptococcus mutans prevalence in ECC children was 98%. A significant correlation between dmft and S mutans counts (≥105 CFU/mL saliva) was demonstrated. A correlation was also found between daily sweets consumption and dmft in children with ECC (P < 0.001). Comparing the dmft of ECC children and duration of bottle feeding showed a statistical correlation (P < 0.001). The mean plaque test was 1.52. None of the examined children had ever used fluoride.


The prevalence of ECC was high among preschool children in the municipality of Kosovo. We recommend increasing parents' knowledge of proper feeding habits and oral health practices, and increasing preschool children's accessibility to dental services.