Prevalence of caries and salivary levels of mutans streptococci in 5-year-old children in relation to duration of breast feeding

Scand J Dent Res. 1990 Jun;98(3):193-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.1990.tb00961.x.


144 children with a known breast feeding history were studied for their caries prevalence and level of salivary mutans streptococci. 19% of the children were exclusively breast-fed for more than 9 months and 38% of the children were weaned after the age of 12 months (max. 34 months). The results of the study showed an equal caries prevalence at the age of 5 among children with a longer or shorter period of exclusive breast-feeding (chi 2 = 3.68, 9 df, NS). Exclusive breast-feeding also did not affect the levels of salivary mutans streptococci (chi 2 = 4.87, 9 df, NS). Children who were weaned late did not differ from those who were weaned early with respect to caries experience (chi 2 = 6.12, 9 df, NS), level of salivary mutans streptococci (chi 2 = 5.49, 9 df, NS) or presence of mutans streptococci (chi 2 = 1.53, 4 df, NS). On the basis of our sample we concluded that breast feeding alone cannot be connected with an increased or lowered caries prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child, Preschool
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Saliva / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus mutans / isolation & purification*
  • Time Factors