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The prevalence of Early Childhood Caries in 1-2 yrs olds in a semi-urban area of Sri Lanka

Shanika LM Kumarihamy1*, Lushanika D Subasinghe1, Prasanna Jayasekara2, Sanjeewa M Kularatna3 and Priyaka D Palipana2

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

2 Dental Institute, Maharagama, Sri Lanka

3 Office of Deputy Director General (Dental Services), Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:336  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-336

Published: 9 September 2011



ECC remains a problem in both developed and developing countries and ECC has been considered to be present in epidemic proportions in the developing countries. The aetiology and associated factors of ECC should be studied adequately to overcome this health hazard. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of ECC in 1 to 2 years old children in some selected MOH areas (semi-urban) in the district of Colombo, Sri Lanka.


This study was conducted as a cross sectional study. A total of 422 children aged 1-2 years were selected using systematic sampling technique in Maharagama, Piliyandala, Nugegoda and Boralesgamuwa MOH areas in Colombo district, Western province, Sri Lanka. The pre-test was done initially with 10 children aged 1 1/2 year olds.

Prior to the clinical examination of each child, a questionnaire consisting questions regarding tooth brushing, dietary habits, breast and bottle feeding, long term medications(Sweetened medications taken more than 3 months), attending a dental clinic during pregnancy of mother and socio-economical status of the family was administered to mothers of those children. Sterile dental mouth mirrors were used to detect ECC in children.


The prevalence of ECC of the whole sample of 410 children aged 1-2 years was 32.19% and the mean dmft was 2.01 and the mean dmfs was 3.83. From the children who had ECC 95% were untreated. There were significant relationships between dmft and long term use of medications (p < 0.000), intake of sugar with milk (p = 0.013), sweet consumption (p = 0.013), employment of mothers (p < 0.000) and visiting a dental clinic during pregnancy (p < 0.000).


This study documents high prevalence and severity of ECC among 1-2 years old children in four selected MOH areas of Colombo district and caries in most of the children with ECC (95%) were untreated. Results reveal an urgent need to increase awareness among the public about ECC and institute preventive strategies.