European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 97–103 | Cite as

Early childhood caries and associated risk factors among preschool children in Ras Al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

  • M. B. KowashEmail author
  • J. O. Alkhabuli
  • S. A. Dafaalla
  • A. Shah
  • A. H. Khamis
Original Scientific Article



To investigate the prevalence and contributing factors of early childhood caries (ECC) in preschool children of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK), United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Study design



The sample consisted of 540 healthy preschool children between four and six years of age attending 10 nursery schools in RAK, UAE. A structured questionnaire was distributed to the mothers of children who gave consent for their children to be included in the study. The questionnaire was used to collect information regarding child and mother’s demographic data, children’s feeding and dietary habits, oral hygiene practices and frequency of dental visits. The dental examination of children was conducted by one investigator using a mouth mirror and a torch light source.


Five hundred and forty children with a mean age of 5.1 (SD = 0.71) years were included in the study. The prevalence of ECC was 74.1%, the mean dmft was 3.07 ± 0.135. The significant caries index (SiC) was very high (13.3) and the care index was very low (3.8%). A high proportion of caries-free children and those with ECC were either never or only visited dentists when in pain. However, the difference in frequency of dental visits was statistically highly significant (p < 0.001). There was also a statistically significant difference in frequency of tooth brushing between children with and without caries and more than two-thirds of children with ECC spent less than two minutes when brushing their teeth. The difference in sweet consumption was not statistically significant.


The prevalence of dental decay and the mean dmft were high and the care index was extremely low. There is a great need for prospective studies and community preventive programs to solve the problem of ECC and set plans to treat open cavities in RAK preschool children.


Early childhood caries Risk factors Oral hygiene Preschool children United Arab Emirates 



The authors wish to express their great appreciation to the children and mothers for their interest and cooperation in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures (dental examinations of preschool children) performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK) Medical and Health Sciences University (RAKMHSU), and the education department of RAK Emirate, United Arab Emirates and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HBMCDMMohammed Bin Rashid UniversityDubaiUAE
  2. 2.RAK College of Dental SciencesRAKMHSURas Al-KhaimahUAE
  3. 3.School Health CentreRAK Medical DistrictRas Al-KhaimahUAE
  4. 4.RAK College of Dental SciencesRas Al-KhaimahUAE

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