Received: December 16, 2020 Accepted: December 19, 2020 Published: December 19, 2020
Aims: To describe the dental caries experience in preschool children in Harare and it’s contributing factors. Study Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study. Place and Duration of Study: Frank Johnson, Lochinvar, Southerton, Chembira and Chengu Primary Schools in High Glen District, Harare between May, and June 2014. Methodology: The study participants were 178 preschool children. High Glen District in Harare was randomly selected. Using stratified sampling, schools from high, medium, and low-density suburbs were categorized and Purposive sampling was use low and medium density suburbs and Convenience sampling was used to identify the two schools from the two main high-density suburbs. Results: A sample size of 220, 95% confidence level and precision of 5% was used, the response rate was 80.9%. The caries prevalence of 75.8% with a distribution of 51.3% in males and 48.7% in females was obtained. The mean dmft was 3.88 which is high as the implication is on average 20% of a preschool child’s dentition is carious. Decayed teeth contributed 65.2%, missing teeth 34.8% to the dmft value and there were no filled teeth. An increase in dmft with age was noted, at 4 years dmft (25.1%), 5 years (29.9%) and at 6 years (45%). Only 12.7% of the participants had visited a dentist since birth. 93.9% of the study participants consumed sweets, and this occurred at an average of 4 times a week. 77.9% of parents and guardians had given their child something sweet to eat on the day data was collected. Conclusion: The caries prevalence of preschool aged children in Harare is high and this requires attention. The early caries development seen in children from the all socio-economic classes reinforces the need for preventive programs through prenatal counselling to expectant mothers as early as prenatal counselling and implementation of Zimbabwe School Health Policy. Keywords: Early childhood caries, Preschool children, Dental caries, DMFT.