International Journal of Oral Health Sciences

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2013  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 75--78

Knowledge of early childhood caries among anganwadi workers in davangere city, India


Srinidhi Palagatti Basavaraj, Sakeenabi Basha, Pavagouda Gopalakrishna Naveen Kumar, Prashant Goudar Manjunath, Sushanth Veerabhadraiah Hirekalmath, Mohammad Imranulla 
 Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, College of Dental Sciences, Davangere, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Sakeenabi Basha
Department of Community Dentistry, College of Dental Sciences, Davangere - 577 004, Karnataka
India

Abstract

Aim: An Anganwadi worker (AW) can be a vital link in the health care delivery system as she provides a package of services to mothers and children. Oral health knowledge among these workers is an integral component of preventing early childhood caries (ECC). The present study aimed to assess the existing knowledge of early childhood oral health-related factors among AWs. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based survey was conducted among AWs in Davangere city, India. The study involved face-to-face interviews and recording the response to a pretested 12-item questionnaire. Of the 80 participants, 74 participants responded to the questionnaire. Results: Of the 74 respondents, 34.3% agreed that a mother«SQ»s diet during pregnancy affects the development of the infant«SQ»s teeth, while 47.6% disagreed. Sixty-four percent of the participants agreed that problem with babies«SQ» teeth affect the adult teeth, and 85% of the participants agreed that breastfeeding is important for the health of the child«SQ»s teeth. Ninety-two percent of the participants agreed that untreated tooth decay affects the general health of the child, and 47.3% agreed that bacteria that cause decay can spread from mother to child. Conclusion: Our study concluded that AWs showed some degree of knowledge about certain aspects of ECC. The knowledge however appeared to be inconsistent. We recommend that AWs need to be educated by conducting periodic oral health education programs, which will increase their awareness about ECC.



How to cite this article:
Basavaraj SP, Basha S, Naveen Kumar PG, Manjunath PG, Hirekalmath SV, Imranulla M. Knowledge of early childhood caries among anganwadi workers in davangere city, India.Int J Oral Health Sci 2013;3:75-78


How to cite this URL:
Basavaraj SP, Basha S, Naveen Kumar PG, Manjunath PG, Hirekalmath SV, Imranulla M. Knowledge of early childhood caries among anganwadi workers in davangere city, India. Int J Oral Health Sci [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Aug 18 ];3:75-78
Available from: https://www.ijohsjournal.org/text.asp?2013/3/2/75/135976


Full Text

 Introduction



Early childhood caries (ECC) is defined as the presence of one or more decayed, missing or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a child 71 months or younger. [1] ECC is a chronic, transmissible, infectious disease with a complex and multifactorial etiology, [2] and it is a significant public health problem in both developing and industrialized countries, which continues to affect babies and preschool children worldwide. [3],[4],[5],[6],[7] Researchers have shed much light on the etiology and the impacts of ECC on general health and quality of life. [2],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] This knowledge has now enabled the dental profession to provide effective prevention of the disease. [12] ECC prevalence varies from population to population; however, children of disadvantaged subpopulations, regardless of race, ethnicity or culture, have been found to be most vulnerable. [3] Some of the published studies showed an ECC prevalence of 19-54% in the Indian population. [7],[13],[14]

The Anganwadi worker (AW) is the principal worker in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) project in India. She provides a package of basic health services like supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check-up, referral, health education and nonformal education services to nursing mothers, other women (15-45 years) and children below 6 years of age. [15] Increasing the oral health knowledge of the AWs provides an opportunity to educate an important segment of the public that has access to a large population of young people. The present study aimed to assess the existing knowledge of early childhood oral health-related factors among AWs of Davangere city, Karnataka state, India.

 Materials and Method



Davanagere is a city in the Indian state of Karnataka, lying in western South India. It has an area of 72 km 2 (28 sq mi). There were about 85 Anganwadis in Davangere city (2011 data). All the required and relevant information about the number and location of Anganwadis was obtained from the Taluk health office, Davangere. A total of 80 available AWs were interviewed at their official monthly meetings in the month of November 2011. The purpose of the study was explained to them and informed consent was obtained from all AWs. A 12-item close-ended questionnaire addressing knowledge of early childhood oral health-related factors was designed jointly by the research group, which included a pediatric dentist and community dental health specialist. All aspects of early childhood oral health, including oral development, nursing habits, oral hygiene habits, fluoride, transmissibility of oral bacteria and the importance of primary teeth were addressed in the questionnaire. The scoring in the knowledge domain included Agree/Disagree/Don't know. A section for socio-demographic data was included at the beginning of the questionnaire to assess the years of experience, marital status and educational level of the AWs. The questionnaire was constructed in English and later translated into Kannada, the local language, and back-translated to English. The study involved face-to-face interviews and recording the response to the pretested questionnaire (pilot study on 5 AW for clarity in understanding questions and frank response). The reliability of the questionnaire was assessed by asking 20 subjects to complete it through a face-to-face interview. Cronbach alfa was used as a measure of reliability (α = 0.75). Ethical clearance was obtained from the College of Dental Sciences, Davangere. Analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for Social Science version 17 (SPSS INC., Chicago, IL, USA).

 Results



A total of 74 out of 80 AWs responded to the questionnaire (response rate of 92.5%). The demographic data of the respondents are presented in [Table 1]. There were about 63.51% of AWs in between 31 and 45 years of age, and the majority of them had ≥10 years of experience. Ninety-one percent had secondary education and 72.97% were married. [Table 2] presents the response of AWs to the questionnaires. Of the 74 respondents, 34.3% agreed that a mother's diet during pregnancy affects the development of the infant's teeth while 47.6% disagreed. Sixty-four percent of the participants agreed that problems with babies' teeth affect the adult teeth, and 85% of the participants agreed that breastfeeding is important for the health of the child's teeth. Ninety-two percent of the participants agreed that untreated tooth decay affects the general health of the child, and 47.3% agreed that bacteria that cause decay can spread from mother to child. Seventy-one percent of the participants agreed that fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay.{Table 1}{Table 2}

 Discussion



The present study was undertaken to assess the existing knowledge of early childhood oral health-related factors among AWs so that effective pediatric oral health measures can be provided, thereby safeguarding the growth and development of young children. Oral disease, predominantly caries, in young children can be prevented to a great extent if AWs are sufficiently educated and motivated, who in turn educate and motivate mothers to provide the best oral care for their children. Oral health literacy is one of the important factors affecting oral health.

According to the response to this study, 34.3% agreed that a mother's diet during pregnancy affects the development of the infant's teeth, while 47.6% disagreed. This indicates a lack of knowledge about the relationship between the mother's health and oral health of the unborn child. Proper nutrition and good oral health of the mother and the caregiver are important factors as far as the oral health status of the infant is concerned. The majority of AWs believed that baby teeth are important, although they do not last as long as permanent teeth, child's first teeth play an important role in his development. While they are in place, these primary teeth help a child to speak, smile and chew properly. In response to question number three, 31.1% of the workers disagreed that problems with baby teeth will affect adult teeth. Tooth decay can occur as soon as the teeth appear in the baby's mouth. AWs may wonder why there is concern about baby teeth becoming decayed, as they will be replaced by permanent teeth. But, there is cause for concern: Decay in primary teeth may damage the hidden permanent teeth that are forming inside the gums. The studies have shown that the children who develop caries at an early age run a high risk of further caries development in the primary dentition, and are more likely to develop caries in the permanent dentition. [16],[17]

In response to question number four, 47.3% agreed that babies without teeth need mouths cleaned, and 41.8% thought that a baby's teeth should be cleaned after teeth eruption. Cleaning a child's mouth should begin before teeth erupt, and tooth brushing is recommended when the first tooth erupts at least once daily till 2 years, and subsequently twice daily. [18] About 41.9% of AWs think that babies should be put to bed with bottles. When babies fall asleep while sucking on a bottle, the liquid will pool around teeth as they sleep, which can cause cavities. This happens because the bacteria in the mouth change the sugars in milk, juice, formula and breast milk into acids that can dissolve tooth enamel. This is most often a problem for the front four upper teeth because babies hold the nipple against them with the tongue. AWs' responses to the question of whether bottle feeding beyond 12 months of age may pose harm to the primary dentition may be helpful in identifying children at increased risk for caries. For instance, those who disagreed with the practice may have been speaking from first-hand knowledge of the effects this behavioral practice may have. Breastfeeding the infant helps the child maintain positive jaw growth patterns, maintain good oral hygiene and maintain a cavity-free environment from the very start. The sucking mechanism used during bottle feeding differs from that used during breastfeeding. The different sucking mechanisms have the potential to predispose a bottle-fed infant to the development of poor jaw growth patterns. The study of the Urban Mexican American and immigrant Latino mothers rarely recognized cariogenic food beyond candy, and demonstrated uncertainty as to how exactly bottle feeding is detrimental to oral health. [19]

About 29.7% of workers disagreed that children should see a dentist or dental therapist by the first birthday. To prevent dental problems, a child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, usually between 6 and 12 months of age, certainly no later than his/her first birthday. In this study, 91.9% workers agreed that untreated dental decay could affect the general health of the child. Dental caries has a number of impacts on the daily activities of the children as it might impair their ability to eat or affect the quality of their sleep. Many studies found that caries experience affects growth, specifically body weight and height of the children, in an adverse manner. [10],[11]

In this study, 43% workers disagreed bacteria that cause decay can spread from mother to child. Transmission of cavity-causing bacteria from mom to baby have been published for 30 years. [20],[21],[22],[23],[24] The primary culprit is Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that can pass from person to person through the transfer of saliva, such as sharing utensils, blowing on food and, yes, even kissing that sweet little bundle of joy on the mouth. [25] Our study showed that 71% of AWs knew that fluoride in toothpaste is important for preventing caries in teeth.

 Conclusion



An AW can be a vital link in the health care delivery system as she provides a package of services to mothers and children. The finding of this present study shows that the AWs showed some degree of knowledge about certain aspects of ECC. The knowledge however appeared to be inconsistent/contradictory in some aspects. We recommend that AW needed to be educated by conducting periodic oral health education programs, which will create an awareness about oral health. The topic of oral health should be included in their training curriculum. AWs should be educated about the relative benefits of preventive methods that the individuals can perform at home, like oral hygiene procedures using a fluoridated dentifrice and knowledgeable nursing habits.

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