Association between prolonged breast-feeding and early childhood caries: a hierarchical approach

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2012 Dec;40(6):542-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2012.00703.x. Epub 2012 Jun 23.


Objectives: This study was conducted to investigate the association between prolonged breastfeeding and early childhood caries(ECC) with adjustment for important confounders, using hieraschical approach.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study involved 260 low-income children (18-42 months). The number of decayed teeth was used as a measure of caries. Following a theoretical framework, the hierarchical model was built in a forward fashion, by adding the following levels in succession: level 1: age; level 2: social variables; level 3: health variables; level 4: behavioral variables; level 5: oral hygiene-related variables; level 6: oral hygiene quality measured by visible plaque; and level 7: contamination by mutans streptococci. Sequential forward multiple Poisson regression analysis was employed.

Results: Breast-feeding was not a risk factor for ECC after adjustment for some confounders (incidence density ratio, 1.15; 95% confidence interval, 0.84-1.59, P = 0.363).

Conclusion: Prolonged breast-feeding was not a risk factor for ECC while age, high sucrose comption between main meals and the quality of oral higiene were associated with disease in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors