The Dai people, one of the ethnic minorities in China, have a population of 1,260,000. They have the same origin as one of the main ethnic groups of Laos and Thailand. Most of the Dai live in Yunnan province, which is located in the less-developed southwestern part of China. This study aimed to describe the oral health status of Dai preschool children in China and the factors that influence their oral health status.
An oral health survey was performed between 2011 and 2012 to select Dai five-year-old children using multi-stage stratified sampling in Yunnan. Their dental caries experience was measured using the “dmft” index, and severe caries was assessed using the “pa” index, which is modified from the “pufa” index. Oral hygiene status was assessed using the visual plaque index (VPI). A questionnaire to study the children’s socio-demographic background and oral health-related behaviours was completed by the children’s parents.
A total of 833 children were examined. Their caries prevalence was 89% and 49% of the children had carious tooth with pulp involvement. The mean (SD) dmft score was 7.0 (5.3). Higher dmft scores were found among children who were girls, were currently bottle-fed, took daily sweet snacks, had higher VPI scores, and had visited a dentist within the last year.