Prolonged demand breast-feeding and nursing caries

  • Weerheijm K
  • Uyttendaele-Speybrouck B
  • Euwe H
 et al. 
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The aim of this study was to study the characteristics and to explore
risk factors within a group of Dutch children breast-fed on demand over
a prolonged period, whose mothers attended the meetings of La Leche
League. Ninety-six children, 55 boys and 41 girls (mean age 28.8 months,
SD 8.8), were examined. Most of the parents belong to a higher
socio-economic working class. The examination included a questionnaire
and dietary sheet, combined with the caries status of the child, On
average the children were breast-feed for 21.5 months (SD 9.8). The mean
age at which the parents started brushing the children's teeth was 11.7
months (SD 5.1). Fluoridated toothpaste (250 ppm fluoride) was used by
70% of the children. The children were divided into three groups
according to their caries pattern: 1 caries-free; 2 caries, and 3
nursing caries. Dentine caries was found in 14 (14.5%) of the children,
of which 9 (9.3%) met the criteria of nursing caries. The mean dmfs of
all children examined was 1.2 (SD 4.8). Up to IS months of age the
breast was given significantly more frequently during the night and up
to 24 months during the day time, to the children of the nursing caries
group compared to the children in the other two groups. The children
still being breast-fed at the time of investigation more Frequently
slept in their parents' bed. The children of the nursing-caries group
used fluoridated dentifrices less often. The majority of children of the
caries and nursing-caries groups did not receive fluoride from other
sources. The results of the present study demonstrate that prolonged
demand breast-feeding does not lead to a higher caries prevalence
although comparison between the groups demonstrates that frequent
breast-feeding and low additional fluoride use should be considered as
contributing factors in the process of nursing caries.

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  • K L Weerheijm

  • B F M Uyttendaele-Speybrouck

  • H C Euwe

  • J H Groen

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