Association of dental caries and asthma among 12-15 years old children studying at 5 private schools of Karachi, Pakistan : a cross sectional study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Epidemiology & Biostatistics (MSc Epidemiology & Biostats)


Community Health Sciences


One of the most widespread chronic disease among children is dental caries. It's a multifactorial disease caused by interplay of genetic, environmental and behavioural factors. Findings from international studies regarding the relationship between dental caries and asthma are inconsistent. The burden of caries is increasing among children in an underdeveloped country like Pakistan and with the prevailing economic constraints in the country it makes it very difficult to bear the cost of the expensive treatment regimes. Therefore this study aims to identify an association of dental caries and asthma so that oral prophylactic strategies can be formulated. Objective: To evaluate an association of dental caries and asthma among school-children aged 12 to 15 years studying in 5 private secondary schools in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods: This is a school-based cross-sectional study conducted from January to February 2016. A sample of 544 children aged 12 to 15 years were recruited via convenience sampling from five private schools of Karachi, Pakistan. We collected information regarding the asthma status of the child via a self-administered validated International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire, physician diagnoses or parent interview. The questionnaire addressed questions regarding child's demographic factors, asthma status, dietary habits and oral hygiene. However the status of caries was assessed via DMFT Index (Decayed, Missing, Filled teeth) with disposable dental kits as per WHO recommendations.. Moreover anthropometric measurements were also recorded by taking the child's height, weight etc. The data was analyzed using Cox proportional Hazard algorithm. Association of Dental Caries and Asthma among 12-15 years old children studying at private schools of Karachi, Pakistan Results: The mean age of children was 13.2 years( SD 0.048). There were 56% (306/544 boys and 43% girls. The total number of children with carious teeth (DMFT >0) were 166 (30.51%). In DMFT the decayed component contributed largely. The prevalence of asthma in children that were physician diagnosed was 13%. Almost 7% asthmatic children were identified through the internationally validated tool (ISAAC) and 8 childhood asthma cases were revealed through parent interviews. Hence the overall prevalence of asthma was 20%. The prevalence of caries in asthmatic children was 28% as compared to 31% of caries among non-asthmatics. The adjusted prevalence ratio of in asthmatic children of dental caries was 0.87 (95% CI 0.59-1.29) after adjusting for carious food intake, age, oral hygiene index and dentist visit. Our study showed no significant relationship between asthma and dental caries. Conclusion: There was no statistically significant difference in the caries experience between the asthmatics and non-asthmatics. However our findings indicate that child's age, prior dental visit, oral hygiene index and cariogenic food consumption were significantly associated with dental caries. Moreover lower the educational status f the mother higher was the child's consumption of unhealthy food which is aoof genic in nature. Furthermore the children aged 12 to 13 years old had very high debris scores as compared to those aged 15 years. Therefore the association will remain debatable until a comprehensive longitudinal study explores the relationship further. Association of Dental Caries and Asthma among 12-15 years old children studying at private schools of Karachi, Pakistan i.

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