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Pediatr Dent. 1997 Jan-Feb;19(1):28-33.

Sucking habits in Saudi children: prevalence, contributing factors and effects on the primary dentition.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, King Abdulaziz University Faculty of Dentistry, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


A review of the literature on the prevalence of sucking habits shows that it varies from one population to another. The purposes of this study were to: 1) determine the prevalence of sucking habits among preschool Saudi children living in Riyadh City, 2) assess the influence of some cultural factors on that prevalence, and 3) to study the effect these habits might have on the primary dentition. This cross-sectional study was conducted through a survey questionnaire and clinical examination of 583 Saudi children aged 3-5 years using a stratified cluster random sampling technique. The prevalence of sucking habits was 48.36% with the dummy-sucking as the dominant type. Most dummy-suckers had broken their habits in the first few years of life while more digit-suckers were still active at age 5 years. Sucking habits were only related to parents' education and the child feeding methods without significant effect of gender or birth rank or family income. Children with existing digit sucking habits had significantly (P < 0.05) more distal molar and class II canine relationships, larger overjet, and open bite than did children without sucking habits. These differences were even more significant (P < 0.01) when dummy-suckers were compared with nonsuckers. The only measurable effect of previous sucking habits was a more open bite. Posterior crossbite was no more common in children with sucking habits than in children without these habits.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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