Objective.  The aim of this study was to investigate oral health and its determinants in 3-year-old and 6-year-old children with asthma.

Methods and subjects.  Caries and gingivitis were examined in 127 asthmatic (all children with asthma in a selected area and born during a specific time period) and 117 matched, healthy control children.The parents were interviewed regarding various oral-health-related factors.

Results.  The mean dfs (± standard deviation) in the 3-year-old with asthma was 1.4 ± 3.2 compared with 0.5 ± 1.2 in the controls (P < 0.05). The corresponding figures for the 6-year-old were 2.5 ± 3.9 and 1.8 ± 2.8. The 3-year-old asthmatic children had more gingival bleeding than the healthy controls (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in gingivitis in the 6-year-old children. Asthmatic children reported higher consumption of sugar-containing drinks and were more frequently mouthbreathers than healthy children (P < 0.05). In 3-year-old children with asthma and immigrant background, the mean dfs was higher compared with immigrant children in the control group (P < 0.01).

Conclusion.  The results indicate that preschool children with asthma have higher caries prevalence than healthy children. The factors discriminating for caries in asthmatic children are higher intake of sugary drinks, mouth breathing, and immigrant background.