Anum Iftikhar , Muneeza Zafar , Musleh Uddin Kalar
Introduction: Sugars are most important cause of dental caries. Frequent consumption of carbohydrate containing snacks between meals is known to increase the amount of dental caries. Snacking several times and allowing snacks to stay on teeth cannot be neglected as an important cause of dental caries.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of dental caries in children consuming snacks.
Materials and Methods: A comparative cross sectional study was conducted at a private school. Subjects were selected on the basis of non-probability convenient sampling. Respondents were asked questions regarding their age and type of daily snack food consumption. Children who were medically fit were included and traumatized teeth were excluded. Diagnostic criteria depended on visual evidence of a lesion, with a blunt periodontal probe being used only to remove plaque. Caries were recorded using the decayed missed filled teeth (DMFT) index. Sample size calculation was done using the W.H.O. software where α=0.05, 1-beta=90, Po=0.67, P2=0.58, n (sample size)=245.
Result: Descriptive statistics showed 45% were males. Mean age was 12 years. DMFT index showed one tooth decay in 39%, two teeth decay in 11% and three teeth decay in 4% of children respectively. There was no missing or filled teeth. More than half of students, 53% consumed cookies among them 35% consumed cookies once daily. Sweets were consumed by 56% of children. Chocolates as snacks were consumed by 60% of children. Ice cream was consumed by 86% of children. Potato chips were consumed by 76% of children. Citrus fruit juices were consumed by 67% of children. Jellies and jam were consumed by 39% of children. Marmalade was consumed by 14% of children. Halwa was consumed by 47% of children. Dental examination showed caries was present in 54% of children. Binary logistic regression analysis showed caries in children were 3.89 (95% CI, 2.16-7.01) times more in children consuming cookies as compared to children who do not consumed cookies. (p=0.0001) Caries in children were 4.28 (95% CI, 2.09-8.78) times more common in children consuming potato chips as compared to children who do not consumed potatoes chips. (p=0.0001)
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that young children with poor dietary habits consuming snacks frequently were more likely to develop caries as compared to children with no snacking habits.