Dental caries and oral hygiene practices among school children in Chennai, India: a cross sectional study


  • Shanthi Ramesh Department of Pediatrics, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • S. Sundari Department of Pediatrics, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India



Dental caries, Oral hygiene practices, Prevalence, School children


Background: Dental caries is commonly seen among school children. The World Health Organization has stated it to be one of the leading non-communicable diseases. Objective: To study the prevalence of dental caries among school children and to study the oral hygiene practices in the occurrence of dental caries.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 307 school children aged 10-15 years. Each child was asked about the dental hygiene practices and was examined for the presence of caries.

Results: The prevalence of dental caries among school children was found to be 48.9 % with the 95% CI of 43.3% - 54.4%. The prevalence of dental caries was high among children 10-12 years of age 95(53.6%) compared to 55 (42.3%) among children in the age group of 13-15 years (p=0.05). Daily sweet consumption was significantly associated with a higher prevalence 40 (63.5%) of dental caries (p=0.01). Children not consuming vegetables and fruits everyday had a higher prevalence 76.5% dental caries (p = 0.03). Children who are not practicing night brushing had a higher prevalence of 112 (52.8%) of caries (p=0.04). The study showed that only 17.3% of the children visited a dental health care service.

Conclusion: Authors found the prevalence of dental caries to be high. Health education regarding the importance of good oral hygiene practices such as night brushing, diet modification and periodic dental visits to all the school children will play a major role in the prevention of dental caries.


Peterson PE. The global burden of oral diseases and risk to oral health. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2005;83(9):661-69.

Roger Detels, Chorh Chuan Tan. The scope and concerns of public health. In: Roger Detels, Martin Gulliford, Karim QA, ChorhChuan Tan (eds.), Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health, 6th edn, oxford university Press. 2015; 1033-38.

Child Dental Health Survey 2013, England, Wales and Northern Ireland Publication date: March 19, 2015. Available at: Accessed on 19 April 2019.

Norman Tinanoff. Dental Caries. In: Robert M. Kliegman, Bonita F Stanton, Joseph W. St. Geme, Nina F. Schor, Richard E. Behrman (eds.), Nelson Textbook of pediatrics, 20 ed , Elsevier Division of Reed Elsevier India Pvt Ltd. 2016; 1773-1775.

Sudha P, Bhasin S, Anegundi R. Prevalence of dental caries among 5-13 year old children of Mangalore city. Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and preventive Dentistry. 2005;23(2): 74-9.

Gupta D, Momin RK, Mathur A, Srinivas KT, Jain A, Dommaraju N, et al. Dental Caries and Their Treatment Needs in 3-5 Year Old Preschool Children in a Rural District of India. North Am J Medical Sciences. 2015;7(4):143-50.

Mehta A. Trends in dental caries in Indian children for the past 25 years. Indian Journal of Dental Research. 2018 May 1;29(3):323-28.

Arangannal P, SK Mahadev, Jayaprakash J. Prevalence of dental caries among school children in Chennai, based on ICDAS II. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR. 2016 Apr;10(4):ZC09-12.

Karunakaran R, Somasundaram S, Gawthaman M, Vinodh S, Manikandan S, Gokulnathan S. Prevalence of dental caries among school-going children in Namakkal district: A cross-sectional study. J pharmacy and bioallied sciences. 2014;6(1):S160-61.

Babu MM, Nirmala SV, Sivakumar N. Oral hygiene status of 7-12 year old school children in rural and urban population of Nellore district. Journal of the Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry. 2011; 18(3):1075-80.

Pai NG, Acharya S, Vaghela J, Mankar S. Prevalence and risk factors of dental caries among school children from a low socio economic locality in Mumbai, India. 2018;4(1):203-7.

Ingle NA, Dubey HV, Kaur N, Gupta R. Prevalence of dental caries among school children of Bharatpur city, India. J Int Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry. 2014;4(1):52-5.

Saravanan S, Kalyani V, Vijayarani MP, Jayakodi P, Felix J, Arunmozhi P, et al. Caries prevalence and treatment needs of rural school children in Chidambaram Taluk, Tamil Nadu, and South India. Indian J Dent Res. 2008;19:186-90.

Grewal H, Verma M, Kumar A. Prevalence of dental caries and treatment needs amongst the school children of three educational zones of urban Delhi, India. Indian J Dental Research. 2011; 22(4):517-9.

WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children. Available at; Accessed on 19 April 2019.

Mobley C, Marshall TA, Milgrom P, Coldwell SE. The Contribution of Dietary Factors to Dental Caries and Disparities in Caries. Academic pediatr. 2009; 9(6):410-4.

Dixit LP, Shakya A, Shrestha M, Shrestha A. Dental caries prevalence, oral health knowledge and practice among indigenous Chepang school children of Nepal. BMC oral Health. 2013;13(1):20.

Faine MP, Oberg D. Survey of dental nutrition knowledge of Wig nutritionists and public health dental hygienists. J Am Dietetic Association. 1995;95(2):190-4.






Original Research Articles