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Int J Circumpolar Health. 1998;57 Suppl 1:155-62.

Baby-bottle tooth decay: are we on the right track?

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1
Department of Community Health Sciences, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Abstract

The baby-bottle tooth decay (BBTD) risk factor literature was critically assessed for strength of evidence, and the prevention literature for the identification of which risk factors are being addressed. "Inappropriate" feeding practices (non-nutritive sucking, prolonged bottle/breast feeding, nap-time feeding) are believed to cause BBTD. The association of these practices with BBTD is inconsistent and the strength of association varies greatly. These practices increase exposure to lactose, a cariogenic carbohydrate, but the current causation model fails to explain why the majority of children with these risk factors do not develop BBTD. The association of BBTD with low socioeconomic status is stronger and more consistent. Prevention has focused almost exclusively on education directed at changing the postnatal feeding practices despite the fact that teeth begin formation in utero. Prenatal deficiencies of calcium and vitamin D can lead to enamel defects, and enamel defects in turn predispose teeth to caries. Baby-bottle tooth decay is especially prevalent in Aboriginal people, for whom studies have consistently reported diets deficient in vitamin D and calcium. BBTD may be a consequence of the poor socioeconomic conditions and malnutrition. Perhaps more attention should be given to primary prevention.

PMID:
10093266
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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