Background: There is a need to carry out controlled investigations regarding risk factors for early childhood caries (ECC). Aim: To study the type of parenting style and oral health practices as risk factors among children with ECC in an Indian preschool population. Methods: Two hundred and eleven children with ECC and equal number of controls participated in this case–control study. A questionnaire was answered by parents regarding oral health practices such as oral hygiene methods, feeding habits, daily sugar intake, and dental attendance pattern along with socioeconomic and demographic status. The parenting style was determined using Parenting Styles Dimension Questionnaire (PSDQ) index. Data were statistically analyzed using chi-square test and multiple logistic regression analysis. Results: Risk factors associated with ECC were higher birth order, lower socioeconomic status, non-use of fluoridated toothpaste, breast/bottle feeding for more than one year, presence of formula milk or milk with sugar in the feeding bottle while falling asleep, higher sweet scores in the diet chart, and visiting dentist only when a problem was perceived. Majority of parents of children with and without ECC had authoritative parenting style. Conclusion: Improper oral health practices are the risk factors for ECC. The association of parenting style with ECC could not be confirmed.
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