Conducting an Oral Health-Related Epidemiological Survey With Preschool Children


Although people’s knowledge and awareness of oral health have generally improved over the decades, dental caries remains one of the most prevalent and significant health problems in preschool children worldwide. Untreated dental caries can cause pain and infection. Compromised primary dentition can influence the child’s nutrition absorption, growth, and general health. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of diseases in the human populations. A population-based epidemiological survey is crucial for quantifying the burden of a disease, contributing toward the development of evidence-based health care programs, and evaluating the effectiveness of those programs for reducing the disease burden. Our team has done an epidemiological survey in preschool children regarding their oral health status. We recruited 5-year-old children by a multistage sampling method. Outreach-based setting in kindergartens was performed for conducting clinical examination. Decayed, missing (due to caries), and filled tooth index and caries prevalence were used for reporting the results. In addition, we used a zero-inflated negative binomial regression model to analyze the risk factors. As this is a community-based study, it is crucial to achieve a good collaboration with the community stakeholders. In this case study, our aim was to provide a practical guideline for conducting a population-based epidemiological survey of dental caries in preschool children. We discussed research procedures, including the study design, sampling strategy, data collection, and data management. Through this case study, we also provided insightful suggestions for managing the barriers, difficulties, sensitive issues, and other vital components that are commonly encountered by the researchers in a population-based epidemiological survey.

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