Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology vol:36 issue:3 pages:249-257
OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to explore the association between parental smoking behavior and caries experience in young children, taking into account the socioeconomic status and oral health-related behavior. METHODS: Cross-sectional data from 1250 3-year-old and 1283 5-year-old children from four geographical areas in Flanders (Belgium) were analyzed. Children were examined at school by trained dentist-examiners, using standard criteria and calibrated examination methodology. Data on oral hygiene and dietary habits, oral health behavior, sociodemographic variables, and parental smoking behavior were obtained through structured questionnaires, completed by the parents. RESULTS: Visible caries experience (i.e. d(3)mft > 0) was seen in 7% of 3-year olds and 31% of 5-year olds. In both age groups, 30% of the parents reported smoking behavior. Univariable logistic regression analysis with caries prevalence as the dependent variable, revealed that parental smoking was a significant independent variable. After controlling for age, gender, sociodemographic characteristics, oral hygiene, and dietary habits, the effect of family smoking status was no longer significant in 3-year-old children (OR = 1.98; 95% CI: 0.68-5.76). In 5-year olds the significant relationship between parental smoking behavior and caries experience persisted after adjusting for the other evaluated variables (OR = 3.36; 95% CI: 1.49-7.58). CONCLUSION: The results of this study illustrate the existence of a significant association between parental smoking behavior and caries experience in 5-year-old children.