Objective: To determine if there is an association between longer breast-feeding duration and dental caries in healthy urban children.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of urban children aged 1 to 6 years recruited through The Applied Research Group for Kids (TARGet Kids!) practice-based research network between September 2011 and August 2013. The main outcome measure was parental report of dental caries.
Results: The adjusted predicted probability of dental caries was 7%, 8%, 11%, and 16% with total duration of breast-feeding duration of 12, 18, 24, and 36 months, respectively. In the adjusted logistic regression analyses, relative to breast-feeding 0 to 5 months, the odds of dental caries with total breast-feeding duration >24 months was 2.75 (95% confidence interval 1.61-4.72).
Conclusions: Among healthy urban children, longer breast-feeding duration was associated with higher odds of dental caries. These findings support heightened awareness and enhanced anticipatory guidance for preventive dental care, particularly among children who breast-feed beyond 2 years of age.
Keywords: breast feeding; dental caries; early childhood; nutrition; oral health.
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