The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
SB draughted the initial manuscript, carried out the analyses and approved the final manuscript as submitted. MA coordinated and supervised data collection, reviewed the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. PB coordinated and supervised data collection, reviewed the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. MG coordinated and supervised data collection, reviewed the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. CM conceptualised and designed the study, coordinated and supervised data collection, reviewed, revised and approved the final manuscript as submitted. All authors read, approved the final manuscript and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Early childhood caries (ECC) is a marker of social inequalities worldwide because disadvantaged children are more likely to develop caries than their peers. This study aimed to define the ECC prevalence among children living in French-speaking Switzerland, where data on this topic were scarce, and to assess whether ECC was an early marker of social inequalities in this country.
The study took place between 2010 and 2012 in the primary care facility of Lausanne Children’s Hospital. We clinically screened 856 children from 36 to 71 months old for ECC, and their caregivers (parents or legal guardians) filled in a questionnaire including items on socioeconomic background (education, occupation, income, literacy and immigration status), dental care and dietary habits. Prevalence rates, prevalence ratios and logistic regressions were calculated.
The overall ECC prevalence was 24.8 %. ECC was less frequent among children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than children from lower ones (prevalence ratios ≤ 0.58).
This study reported a worrying prevalence rate of ECC among children from 36 to 71 months old, living in French-speaking Switzerland. ECC appears to be a good marker of social inequalities as disadvantaged children, whether from Swiss or immigrant backgrounds, were more likely to have caries than their less disadvantaged peers. Specific preventive interventions regarding ECC are needed for all disadvantaged children, whether immigrants or Swiss.
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