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Description: Aim: to estimate the global prevalence of early childhood caries and detect differences by country and continents. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of studies published from 1960 to 2019 in PubMed, Google Scholar, SciELO and LILACS. Two reviewers conducted the search and extracted information from the selected articles. Articles using the dmft-WHO diagnostic criteria were analyzed. Prevalence was estimated with a random model meta-analysis. Results: we found 442 reports of which 197 were included and 61 analyzed, with articles published from 1992 to 2019. They covered 29 countries and a total of 57855 children. The estimated overall prevalence [95% CI] is 48 [42, 53]. The prevalence by continent is Africa 26 [14; 42], North America 63 [52; 72], Central America 58 [52; 64], South America 45 [39; 52], Asia 54 [44; 63], Europe 38 [22; 58] and Oceania 82 [73; 89]. Conclusion: Early childhood caries is a global health problem and affects a significant proportion of preschool children.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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