The Association Between Television Viewing and Caries Experience in Children
Facko, Richard N.
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The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the relationship between television viewing and dental caries experience in children. The literature has established the existence of a relationship between television viewing and cariogenic habits, including frequent snacking, soda intake, and poor dietary habits. However, no study to-date has been published exploring the possible relationship between television viewing and dental caries experience in children. The primary hypothesis of this study was that television viewing was positively correlated with caries experience in children. This study was completed using a novel survey tool to evaluate television viewing. The survey included television viewing information as well as demographic and caries risk information. Subsequently, the child’s dental chart was reviewed and caries experience recorded. The survey was completed by parents of child dental patients aged six through ten years in public and private clinics. A total of 295 subjects were asked to participate; 290 surveys were completed and 278 subjects met the inclusion criteria. Data analysis confirmed several findings from previously published studies. Television viewing was positively correlated with snacking (r=0.22, p<0.001). Additionally, television viewing was negatively correlated with parent education (r=-0.40, p<0.001). Both of these results confirmed the hypotheses of this study. A preliminary analysis found no correlation between television viewing and primary tooth caries. A positive correlation was found between television viewing and permanent tooth caries (r=0.130, p<0.05). However, when controlling for confounding variables including demographics and caries risk factors, no relationship between television viewing and primary or permanent caries was found. In conclusion, this study confirmed several findings from previous research studies, but identified no significant relationship between television viewing and caries in children.