Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


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Copyright © 2022 Elizabeth Graham


Introduction: Dental caries is the most prevalent and infectious disease worldwide. Zambia has a high rate of vitamin A deficiency, and this deficiency is associated with dental caries.

Methods: Visual dental checks, interviewing, and anthropometric assessments were done on 781 Zambian primary school children.

Results: Caries rates are 20% among sample populations, males have more decay than females, first molars are the most decayed, a majority use toothbrushes to clean their teeth, and children who eat vitamin A rich foods are less likely to have dental caries.

Discussion: Caries’ rates in the Southern and Eastern provinces are higher than in the US and children are less likely to be treated. Improved dental hygiene and increased consumption of vitamin A rich foods could lower caries rates. Untreated dental caries can be fatal and dental treatment is difficult to access. Thus, in Zambia, prevention is more likely to lower caries rates and save lives.