Open Access Research article

Early childhood caries and its relationship with perinatal, socioeconomic and nutritional risks: a cross-sectional study

Valdeci Elias dos Santos Junior12*, Rebeca Maria Brasileiro de Sousa1, Maria Cecília Oliveira1, Arnaldo França de Caldas Junior1 and Aronita Rosenblatt1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

2 Rua São Sebastião, 417 #101 CEP 54410500, Jaboatão dos Guararapes, PE, Brazil

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BMC Oral Health 2014, 14:47  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-47

Published: 6 May 2014



Socioeconomic, perinatal and other life cycle events can be important determinants of the health status of the individual and populations. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC), perinatal factors (gestational age, teenage pregnancy and birth weight), family income and nutritional risk in children.


A cross-sectional study in which 320 children were examined according to the criteria established by the World Health Organization. A previously validated questionnaire was used to obtain information from parents and guardians about family income, gestational age and birth weight. To check the nutritional risk, we used the criteria provided by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). For Statistics, Pearson’s, chi-square and the multivariate Poisson analyses were used to determine the association among variables.


Approximately 20% of children had ECC, and the Poisson multivariate analyses indicated that family income (p = 0.009), birth weight (p < 0.001) and infant obesity (p < 0.001) were related to the increase of ECC, and gestational age was not significantly associated with ECC (p = 0.149). Pregnancy in adolescence was not included in the regression analyses model because it was not statistically significant in the chi-square test (p > 0.05).


The prevalence of ECC was related to low family income, premature birth and infant obesity.

Dental caries; Child; Obesity; Teenage pregnancy; Birth weight; Prematurity