Dental caries is one of the oral health problems which cause the destruction of the hard parts of a tooth (1). Dental caries can result from interaction of bacteria and fermentable carbohydrates (2). Now a day dental caries on the rise to become major public health problems worldwide, nearly 60–90% of children and about 100% of adults have dental cavities, often leading to pain and discomfort(3).
The problem related with dental caries leads to a decrease in the quality of life of the affected individuals and high economic costs for equally individuals and society, with disparities related to well-known issues of socioeconomics, immigration, lack of preventive efforts, and dietary changes(4). The burden of dental caries in children is incredibly high. The Pain from dental caries can affect school attendance, eating and speaking, and, then impair growth and development (5, 6).
Even though the overall prevalence of dental caries decrease in developed countries, caries continues to be an important public health problem in most developing countries (7). A study conducted in Lithuania showed that the overall prevalence of dental caries was 78.3%. (8). Another study conducted in Brazil among adults aged 35 to 44 years showed that 82.0% consumed sugary foods up to four times a day. A study done in Brazil showed that 75% of the participants had enamel defects (9, 10). Another study was done in Bulgaria also showed that Age, sex, and education were associated with tooth decay. Higher education was associated with a lower chance of having “missing” teeth. More frequent tooth brushing was associated with a lower chance of having decayed (11).
The prevalence of dental caries in Sudan was reported as 30.5% (12). Another study done in Kenya revealed that the prevalence of dental caries was 37 %. The main reason attributed was lack of knowledge on the causes and preventive methods of the disease (13).
An increasing utilization of sweet foods in the developing countries, poor tooth brushing habits, poor oral hygiene and low level of awareness are some of the factors that increased the levels of dental caries. In addition to this the way of life, eating habits, social status and socio-demographic factors also contribute to the development of caries. Caries can be prevented by decreasing sugar intake and brushing teeth after every meal using the appropriate techniques and regular check-ups(5-9,14).
Although the trend is not clear in developing countries such as Ethiopia, Oral diseases have a growing impact on the health and well-being of people in the region and in particular on vulnerable and marginalized groups of the population. The burden of dental caries has been increasing due to the unlimited utilization of sugary foods, poor oral care practices and inadequate health service utilization (15, 16). A study done in Finote Selam, Ethiopia showed that 48.5% of the students had dental caries. The prevalence was higher in female 54.6%. Lack of tooth brushing habit (AOR=3.5, 95% CI: 1.9-6.4), frequent consumption of sugared foods (AOR=3.4, 95% CI: 1.3-5.6) and residency (AOR=1.8, 95% CI: 1.0-3.3) were found to have a significant association with dental caries (17). Another study done Bahirdar city showed that the prevalence of dental caries was 21.8%, Poor habit of tooth cleaning was significantly associated with dental caries (18). The study done in Gondar showed that there was a statistically significant association between dental caries and educational status (AOR = 0.37, 95%CI, 0.17, 0.80). Dental caries among children whose father were above grade 12 were 63% times at a lower risk compared to illiterates (19).
Untreated dental caries might lead to dental pain, which in turn results in impacts of affected play and sleep, avoidance of certain types of food and decreased performance (15).In Ethiopia, existing dental health services are limited. Even though dental caries is high in the country, much is not known about the factors affecting it in the study area. Therefore this study was aimed to assess the prevalence of dental caries and its associated factors among patients attending Dental Clinic in Debre Tabor General Hospital