Early childhood caries among pre-school children in rural areas


  • Osadolor OO Department of Child Dental Health, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Osadolor AJ Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Nigeria




Africa, Children, Early childhood, Rural, Studies


Background: Early childhood caries can occur and exist among children in slums areas, rural areas and under-served communities. Africa has countries with rural areas inhabited by diverse ethnic populations of pre-school children, with their parents and family members.

Method: An electronic literature search in Science direct and PubMed was done in January, 2024 using the Population, Concept and Context framework. Search terms and keywords were combined by Boolean operators. Two independent investigators screened titles and abstracts of publications on early childhood caries among pre-school children in rural areas. The inclusion criteria was original (primary) research articles with accessible full text, related to early childhood caries among pre-school children in rural areas, carried out in Africa, published in English and in electronic databases. Original research articles related to early childhood caries among pre-school children in urban, semi-urban or sub-urban areas, hospital based studies, studies with participants selected from rural and urban or rural and semi-urban communities, review articles, systematic reviews, thesis or dissertations were excluded during screening.

Results: Three articles with accessible full texts were included as it was assessed to meet the aim of the review. The study designs of the included studies were cross-sectional study, randomized, controlled field trial and a case-control study respectively. The studies were carried out in rural areas of Uganda and Egypt respectively.

Conclusion: Early childhood caries has multifactorial aetiology. More studies from diverse ethnic population in Africa countries will fill the gaps in knowledge and add to the existing literature.