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J Epidemiol. 2012;22(1):72-7. Epub 2011 Dec 10.

Association between breastfeeding and dental caries in Japanese children.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Japan.



Studies investigating the impact of breastfeeding on dental caries have produced contradictory results. This cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between breastfeeding and the prevalence of dental caries in young Japanese children.


The study subjects were 2056 Japanese children aged 3 years. Information on breastfeeding was obtained by means of a questionnaire. Children were classified as having caries if 1 or more deciduous teeth were decayed, missing, or had been filled at the time of examination.


The prevalence of dental caries was 20.7%. As compared with breastfeeding for less than 6 months, breastfeeding for 18 months or longer was associated with a significantly higher prevalence of dental caries. The relation was J-shaped: the adjusted prevalence ratios for less than 6 months, 6 to 11 months, 12 to 17 months, and 18 months or longer were 1.0, 0.79 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.60-1.05), 0.86 (95% CI: 0.66-1.13), and 1.66 (95% CI: 1.33-2.06), respectively (P for linear trend <0.0001, P for quadratic trend <0.0001).


Breastfeeding for 18 months or longer was positively associated with the prevalence of dental caries, while breastfeeding for 6 to 17 months was nonsignificantly inversely associated with the prevalence of dental caries.

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