|BMC Public Health
|Ashima Goyal, Ashoo Grover, Krishan Gauba, Arpit Gupta, Nishant Mehta, Sourabh Dutta, R. M. Pandey, Ashish Joshi, J. S. Thakur, Utkal Mohanty, R. S. Dhaliwal
Background: Early childhood caries (ECC) has reached epidemic proportions affecting millions of children worldwide. Its prevention becomes imperative owing to the significant morbidity and financial implications involved with its treatment. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), launched in India to provide mid-day meals, pre-school education and primary healthcare to children, can be utilised to counsel and deliver oral health education to mothers. The purpose of the study is to compare the effect of an oral health care package (OHCP) with usual care on the change in dental disease status among 1 to 3-year-old children at Anganwadi centres (AWC) in periurban areas of Chandigarh and rural areas of Cuttack, Orissa over a follow-up period of three years.
Method: Two geographically distant ICDS blocks would be selected at each of the two study sites and would be randomly allocated to intervention and control group. Closely located AWCs under each of the selected blocks shall constitute the study setting. OHCP would be delivered to the mothers of the 1–6-year-old children enrolled in the AWCs of the experimental group whereas mothers under control group would receive usual care advice available at the AWCs.
Discussion: ECC prevention had conventionally focused upon testing effectiveness of programs targeting behaviour change among the caregivers and children, but surprisingly minimal efforts have been made to seek translation of these efforts into reduction of ECC at the community level. The present study has two components; testing effect of altering maternal and child behavioral aspects on ECC incidence through cohort follow up of 1–3-year-old children for three consecutive years and cross-sectional follow up of all available 1–6-year old children at the selected AWCs at regular intervals to look for change in prevalence of ECC at community level. In other regions of the world surveys of ECC prevalence before and after the intensive educational programs have shown a significant reduction in ECC prevalence. A similar decline can be anticipated through this program.