To examine whether sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake during infancy is associated with dental caries by age 6, a longitudinal analysis of 1,274 U.S. children was conducted using data from the 2005-2007 Infant Feeding Practices Study II and the 2012 Follow-up Study at 6 years of age. The exposure variables were maternal-reported SSB intakes during infancy (i.e., any SSB intake during infancy, age at SSB introduction during infancy, and average frequency of SSB intake during 10-12 months of age). The outcome variable was maternal-reported dental caries of their 6-year-old in his/her lifetime. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for associations of SSB intake during infancy with having dental caries among 6-year-olds after controlling for baseline characteristics of children and mothers and child's tooth brushing habits and sweet food intake at follow-up. Based on maternal recall, almost 40% of 6-year-olds had dental caries in their lifetime. Adjusted odds of having dental caries was significantly associated with higher frequency of SSB intake during 10-12 months (aOR=1.83 for ≥3 times/week, vs. none). Any SSB intake during infancy and age at SSB introduction during infancy were not associated with dental caries. In conclusion, frequent SSB intake during 10-12 months of age significantly increased the likelihood of having dental caries among 6-year-olds. Late infancy may be an important time for mothers to establish healthy beverage practices for their children. These findings can be used to inform efforts to reduce dental caries among children.
Keywords: Child; Dental caries; Infancy; Longitudinal studies; Public health; Sugar-sweetened beverages.