[The relationship between oral habits and malocclusion in preschool children]

Rev Saude Publica. 2000 Jun;34(3):299-303. doi: 10.1590/s0034-89102000000300014.
[Article in Portuguese]


Objective: To evaluate the way oral habits and speech problems affect dental occlusion in preschool children.

Methods: A random sample of 2,139 boys and girls aged 3-5 years old was evaluated. The children were enrolled in private and state institutions in the city of Bauru, São Paulo State, Brazil. The cross-sectional study was developed in two steps: occlusion assessment, and a questionnaire about their social and economic status. The occlusal anatomical-functional characteristics assessment was done according to Angle classification. Additionally, overjet, overbite, crowding, anterior open bite, posterior crossbite, and anterior crossbite were evaluated. A sub-sample of 618 children filled out the questionnaire. The prevalence of malocclusion and some variables of exposure were tested by bivariate analysis.

Results: The prevalence of malocclusion was 51.3% for boys and 56.9% for girls. There was no difference related to gender. In regard to age, there was a higher prevalence of malocclusion in the 3 year-old group, which decreased significantly with age (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Among the environmental factors evaluated, the habit of sucking a pacifier was the most important in the association with malocclusion (OR=5.46) followed by the habit of sucking fingers (OR=1.54). Speech problems did not show any influence in malocclusion occurrence.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Articulation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Articulation Disorders / etiology*
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fingersucking*
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malocclusion / epidemiology
  • Malocclusion / etiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sucking Behavior*