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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 389-392

Dental caries status in 6–14-year-old schoolchildren of rural Channagiri, Davangere: A cross-sectional survey

Department of Public Health Dentistry, College of Dental Sciences, Davangere, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication7-Dec-2015

Correspondence Address:
Syeda Nikhat Mohammadi
Department of Public Health Dentistry, College of Dental Sciences, Davangere - 577 004, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2319-5932.171181

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Introduction: Dental caries is a major public health issue and schools remain an important setting for an efficient and effective way to reach over billion children worldwide and through them, families, and community members.
Aim: To assess the prevalence of dental caries among 6–14-year-old-school going children of rural areas of Channagiri taluk. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among government schools at Thyavanige, Nallur, Pandomatti, Tavarakere, Daginakatte, and Ajjihalli in Channagiri taluk of Davangere district. The study population comprised school children from 6 to 14 years. A total of 1140 children of both genders were surveyed for dental caries prevalence. The results were tabulated and statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics, unpaired t-test, and one-way ANOVA test. Results: The prevalence of caries in the present study was higher in boys (45.08%) than girls (28.42%) (P > 0.5). The mean decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) was 0.47 ± 0.95 for boys and 0.44 ± 0.91 for girls and the mean dmft for boys was 0.50 ± 1.04 and 0.66 ± 1.12 for girls. Conclusions: Caries prevalence was higher in boys and also a large amount of untreated carious lesions among the children. These results suggest that emphasis should be given to scientific monitoring, effective implementation and evaluation of school based oral health promotion and preventive programs to increase the dental awareness and oral hygiene practices, in the rural areas of Channagiri taluk of Davangere district.

Keywords: Dental caries, prevalence, school children

How to cite this article:
Mohammadi SN, Prashant G M, Naveen Kumar P G, Sushanth V H, Imranulla M. Dental caries status in 6–14-year-old schoolchildren of rural Channagiri, Davangere: A cross-sectional survey. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2015;13:389-92

How to cite this URL:
Mohammadi SN, Prashant G M, Naveen Kumar P G, Sushanth V H, Imranulla M. Dental caries status in 6–14-year-old schoolchildren of rural Channagiri, Davangere: A cross-sectional survey. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Aug 18];13:389-92. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2015/13/4/389/171181

  Introduction Top

Dental caries has often been described as a "pandemic" disease due to the high prevalence and morbidity potential and is coming into focus of the mankind.[1],[2] Dental caries is a multifactorial infectious microbial disease of the teeth that results in localized dissolution and destruction of the calcified tissues often resulting in cavitation.[3] Dental caries continues to be a major public health problem despite the fact that caries is preventable [4] and has posed an international public health challenge, especially among young children [5] causing pain, discomfort, and absenteeism from school.[6] There is a high prevalence of dental caries all around the world involving the people of all region and society.[7] Voluminous literature exists about dental caries levels in Indian population.[8] Dental caries is still a smoldering disease in the developing countries like India that has engrossed its tentacles deep into the regions where the resources are inadequate for dental treatment, lack of public awareness, and motivation with increased intake of carbohydrates.[2],[5] Low income, poor oral hygiene, mother's schooling and fluorosis, enamel defects, various measures of low socioeconomic status, low level of parental education and cariogenic diet, all affect caries risk.[9],[10] Children in the mixed dentition stage are prone to poor oral hygiene because of carefree age, emotional stresses, increased frequency in the intake of refined sugar, soft and sticky food, shedding of deciduous, and eruption of permanent teeth.[8] This period of child's age is critical from the point of view of the normal development of occlusion and preservation of first molars from dental caries which is one of the most important responsibilities of the profession.[8] According to very extensive and comprehensive National Oral Health Survey in 2002–2003, caries prevalence in India is 51.9%, 53.8%, and 63.1% at ages 5, 12, and 15 years, respectively. Despite many advances in the urban area, the rural population is still lacking its basic access to oral health care due to a shortage of dental manpower, financial constraints, and the lack of perceived need for dental care among rural masses.[7] Hence, the present study was conducted with an aim to assess the dental caries prevalence among the primary school children in the rural areas of Channagiri taluk of Davangere city, Karnataka (India).

  Materials and Methods Top

Channagiri taluk is located in Davangere district of Karnataka state which comprises mainly of rural population untouched by preventive and dental health education aids. Channagiri Town Panchayat has the population of 21,313 with male literacy rate of 88.71% and female literacy rate of 83.11%.[11] Prior to the start of the study, ethical approval was obtained from Institutional Ethics Committee. Approval from a chief executive officer, concerned school headmasters, and written informed consent from parents/guardians of school children were obtained prior to the study. The survey was carried out for a period of 2 months (January 2015-March 2015). A list of government schools from Channagiri taluk was obtained from the deputy director of public instructions office. Six schools were selected by lottery method from the list. These schools were present in the villages named Thyavanige, Nallur, Pandomatti, Thavarakere, Daginakatte, and Ajjihalli. From each school, all the children between the age group of 6–14 years who were present on the day of examination were included in the study. Mentally, physically, and sensory handicapped, developmental defects of teeth medically compromised patients and subjects with fixed orthodontic treatment were excluded. The fluoride level of drinking water was analyzed in these areas and was found to be well within the optimal level (0.8 ppm). Calibration sessions were conducted before the start of the study that consisted of repeated examination of 30 children. Kappa value for intra-examiner reliability was 0.88. Survey instrument comprised demographic data about the children followed by a clinical examination. As per WHO 1997 guidelines, caries was recorded using decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT/dmft) Index.[12] Single examiner carried out the clinical examination. As per the guidelines for American Dental Association, intraoral type III clinical examination of the children was carried out under natural illumination [13] in their respective schools in their classrooms. Sufficient instruments were carried during the days of clinical examination. The time required for clinical examination varied from 2 to 5 min depending on the child's level of co-operation. After the clinical examination, oral health education was given, and toothpastes were distributed to all the children. Data were entered in Microsoft Excel and analyzed using SPSS windows version 16.0 (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Results were subjected to statistical analysis using Descriptive statistics, Chi-square test. The difference in the means was tested using unpaired Sample t-test, and the means of the different age groups were compared using one-way ANOVA test. For all the tests, the level of significance was set up at P ≤ 0.05.

  Results Top

Total sample size comprised of 1140 students, with 462 girls (40.52%) and 678 boys (59.40%) [Figure 1]. The prevalence of dental caries in boys was 45.08%, and girls was 28.42% [Figure 2]. In permanent dentition, the mean DMFT in boys was found to be slightly higher than the mean DMFT of girls (P = 0.55). In deciduous dentition, the mean dmft scores for boys and girls were 0.50 ± 1.04 and 0.66 ± 1.12, respectively and the difference was statistically significant (P = 0.014) [Table 1]. In permanent dentition, the caries prevalence and severity was highest in children of 12–14 years age and least in the children of 6–8 years age [Table 2]. The difference between groups was statistically highly significant (P = 0.001). Caries was maximum in Group I, followed by Group II and least was in Group III (12–14 years age) and the difference between the groups was statistically significant (P = 0.023) [Table 3].
Figure 1: Percentage distribution of children

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Figure 2: Gender-wise distribution of dental caries of the sample

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Table 1: Mean DMFT/dmft scores in relation to the gender

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Table 2: Mean DMFT scores in different age groups

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Table 3: Age-wise distribution of dental caries prevalence in deciduous teeth

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  Discussion Top

The present study was carried out to assess the prevalence of dental caries among 6–14-year-old school going children in Channagiri taluk of Davangere city. The study provides the information on dental caries status in a representative sample of 1140 school children. The prevalence of caries in our study was higher in boys (45.08%) than girls (28.42). Similar findings were reported by Joshi et al.,[14] Moses et al.[15] and Ng'ang'a and Valderhaug.[16] The increased prevalence of caries in the boys may be due to the marked preference for the sons, which manifest in preferential feeding compared to daughters and due to snacking habit among boys during the longer outside stay.[15] The results of the present study were in contradiction with the study conducted by Dhar et al.,[17] Misra and Shee [18] and Sharma et al.[5] who found increased prevalence of dental caries in girls than boys. In permanent dentition, the prevalence of dental caries increased with age and the difference was statistically highly significant (P < 0.001), the reason for the increase in caries with age in permanent dentition may be due to longer exposure of the tooth with age. These results were in accordance with study results of Bhatia et al.[3] Our study showed a mean DMFT of 0.47 ± 0.95 for boys and 0.44 ± 0.91 for girls, whereas mean dmft for boys was 0.50 ± 1.04 and 0.66 ± 1.12 for girls. These study findings were similar from the findings of Joshi et al.[14] The caries prevalence in the deciduous teeth decreased from 6 to 11 years and, with lowest being at 12–14 years of age, the difference was statistically significant (P = 0.023). This may be due the fact that by 12 years most of the deciduous teeth exfoliate. This study showed increased DMFT in the age group of 12–14 years. This finding was in accordance with the study conducted by Sharma et al.[5] Saravanan et al.[19] and Naveen Kumar et al.[20] The increase in caries would be due to lack of dental awareness, improper brushing techniques, improper dietary habits, ignorance, and lack of motivation. In the present study, the total dmft/DMFT represented only untreated decay and not the missing or filled components which show that rural children did not have access to any restorative dental treatment due to insufficient dental services in the surrounding region. Similar findings were observed in studies carried out by Khera et al.,[21] Bhowate et al.[22] and Rao et al. (1999)[23] in India on prevalence and severity of dental caries in rural areas which showed that decayed teeth accounted for the greatest percentage of dmft/DMFT. Further studies are required to assess dental caries status among these groups by the inclusion of factors such as sugar consumption, oral hygiene practices, fluoride exposure, and socioeconomic factors which play an important role in caries development.

  Limitations Top

As this study is cross-sectional, it measures cause and effect at the same point in time, introducing the problem of temporal ambiguity and inability in establishing a causal relationship. Risk factors for dental caries, socioeconomic status, and oral hygiene behaviors should be assessed along with the prevalence of dental caries.

  Conclusion Top

The dental caries in deciduous dentition (dmft) decreased with age whereas, in permanent dentition (DMFT), there was an increase. In these areas, low caries prevalence may be predominantly due to the ground water supply which had optimum fluoride content. The children with untreated caries were given free dental treatment, and complicated cases were referred to the institution.


It is recommended that continuous scientific monitoring, design, and effective implementation of preventive and restorative programs to be carried out in schools to increase the dental disease awareness thereby reducing the caries prevalence and maintaining those caries free children to produce a caries-free childhood, as schools provide an excellent platform for preventive oral care.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Ingle NA, Dubey HV, Kaur N, Gupta R. Prevalence of dental caries among school children of Bharatpur city, India. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent 2014;4:52-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bhatia HP, Srivastava B, Khatri S, Aggarwal A, Singh AK, Gupta N. Prevalance of dental caries among 3-15 old school children in Ghaziabad city and its adjoining areas – A correlated survey. J Oral Health Community Dent 2012;6:135-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Basha S, Swamy HS. Dental caries experience, tooth surface distribution and associated factors in 6- and 13- year- old school children from Davangere, India. J Clin Exp Dent 2012;4:e210-6.  Back to cited text no. 10
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