According to this study, the prevalence of dental caries among school children was 34.1%, which is higher than studies conducted in Bahir Dar (21.8%)(27), Nigeria (24.1%) (23) and Sudan (30.3%) (26), but lower than other studies in Kenya 43.3 % (25) and Finote-Selam (48.5%) (30). The possible explanation about the variations might be the dental health consideration and the awareness level of most of Ethiopians; including Debre-berhan town school students is low. Other possible explanation might be the different study area and period.
Based on this study, the prevalence of dental caries was higher in male students 61(34.27%) than females 74(33.9%). This result was not supported by the studies done in Bahir Dar (28), Finote- Salam (32) and in Kenya (30). This discrepancy might be due to other co-founding factors like brushing habit and dietary habits.
According to our study, age of participant, 34(36.56%) participant age group 7-10 had dental caries. Grade 1-4 students 47(35.9%) were more prevalent than grade 5-8 students 88 were (33.2). However, in Bahir Dar study, the proportion of dental caries was 33.3% (27)in children from 6 to 10 years of age. The proportion of dental caries was 23 (31.9%) and nine (12.2%) among children from grade1-4 and 5-8, respectively. The possible reason might be when the age and education level increase the awareness about the dental carries and oral health may be increase.
Concerning about the residence in this study, the students who were lived in rural 25(40.32%) had high prevalence than urban area 110(33%). This finding was supported by studies done in Zimbabwe (39). However, this result was not in lined with Finote-Selma’s study and in Uganda (30, 40). The possible reason may be the awareness of oral hygiene in rural is low.
According to the current study, 128(32.2%) children used toothbrush with paste to clean their teeth whereas 122(30.8%) children used a traditional small stick of wood (termed as Mafaqiya) made of a special type of plant to clean their teeth. However, the study done in Bahir Dar city reported that 67.6% of children cleaned their teeth using traditional small stick of wood (Mafaqiya) for maintaining oral hygiene (27). This might be due to the poor habit and improper usage of the tooth brushing sticks in the country.
Recent study, showed that more than half,95(59.37%) of the respondents had pre-molar decayed and 28(7.1%) had missed teeth, of them about nearly half, 12(42.86%) of missed teeth were pre-molar. which is in line with a study done in Finote-Selam study, dental caries was most prevalent in pre- molar (42.2%) (30),and the study done in Nigeria of which (46.5%) was on pre-molar (23). This might be due to its first eruption and main role in mastication.
Based on this study, dental carries among not cleaned their teeth were 41(36.9%). Whereas a study done in Finote-Selam is a round 76.9% students who never brush their teeth had dental caries (30). This may be due to not knowing the advantage of brushing teeth and difference might be study area and period.
Dental caries among children, whose parents’ occupation of merchant were 53% times less likely a chance of developing dental caries compared to those who had private worker. However, in other study no association between parent occupation and dental carries. Hence, further study is need to investigate the possible association of occupation and dental caries
According to this study, students who drank sugared tea frequently had 2 times more likely a chance of developing dental caries than those who drank sugared tea rarely. However, this result was not supported by other studies (27, 30). This might be due to the difference habits of drank sugared tea across different area of the studies and the participants these studies were not brush their teeth after drank sugared tea.
Regarding about the food particle, students who had food particle or plaque on their teeth were 7 times more likely to develop dental caries than those who did not have food particle on their teeth. This study was supported by a study done in Bahir Dar (28). According to this study, students who ate sweet foods frequently found to be 2.4 more likely to developing dental caries than those who use sugared foods sometimes. This study is in line with , the study done in Finote-Selam (30) and Kenya (25).
This research finding has provided important baseline information and evidence regarding the overall magnitude of dental caries and its associated factors, even though, there were some limitations; first, the study design is cross-sectional; hence, it does not show which one is come first effect or cause. Second, behaviour aspects of the children cannot understand merely by quantitative study. Third, detection of dental caries using dental mirror and radiology was not possible because of lack of instruments and laboratory set up.
The over magnitude of dental caries were 34.1%, which is relatively high. Drank sugar tea, presence of food particle or dental plaque were found to be significantly associated with dental caries. In contrast, merchant occupation, was reduced the chance of dental caries.