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Community Dent Health. 2002 Dec;19(4):237-42.

Early childhood caries and infant feeding practice.

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Children's Oral Health Service, Royal Children's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia.



Early childhood caries (ECC) has been suggested as a new term to describe the presence of caries on at least one primary tooth in children under six years of age. The prevalence and severity of ECC in low socio-economic, immigrant and indigenous communities is high. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between selected social and behavioural variables, including previous infant feeding practice, and the presence of ECC in an Australian child population.


A cross sectional sample of 3,375 four to six-year-old children from the north Brisbane region were examined in a school based setting using dmft/s indices and a self-administered questionnaire obtained information regarding social background and past infant feeding practice. The data were modelled using a forward stepwise logistic regression procedure to explore a statistical model for ECC presence.


Significant determinants for ECC presence were ethnicity other than Caucasian (OR=1.99, CI=1.37, 2.88), language other than English (OR=1.97, CI=1.35, 2.86), single parent status (OR=1.93, CI=1.47, 2.52), sweetened bottle contents (OR=4.29, CI=2.90, 6.38), going to sleep with the bottle (OR=1.73, CI=1.49, 2.00) and sipping from the bottle during the day (OR=1.58, CI=1.35, 1.84).


A statistical model for ECC presence and previous infant feeding practice has been constructed. This study supports the adoption of the proposed case definition of ECC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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