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J Public Health Dent. 2016 Winter;76(1):76-84. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12116. Epub 2015 Sep 4.

The association between sugar-sweetened beverages and dental caries among third-grade students in Georgia.

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Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, IL, USA.
Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Chicago, IL, USA.
Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, IL, USA.
Essence of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA.



The purpose of this study is to examine the association between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and caries experience among Georgia third graders.


The 2010-2011 Georgia Third Grade Oral Health Study provided a school-based sample for analysis. Data were weighted to be representative of the state of Georgia's third graders. Log-binomial regression was used to assess the association between SSB consumption and caries experience after adjusting for socio-demographic and maternal and child oral health characteristics.


Georgia third graders consumed approximately two servings of SSB per day on average (1.7, 95% CI 1.6-1.8). Fifty-two percent of Georgia third graders had caries experience. Daily consumption of SSB and prevalence of caries experience differed significantly by demographic characteristics. After adjustment for socio-demographic and maternal oral health characteristics, caries experience increased 22 percent (adjusted PR = 1.2, 95% CI 1.1, 1.3) for every additional reported serving of SSB consumed per day.


Higher consumption of SSBs is associated with higher caries prevalence among Georgia third graders after adjustment for important covariates. Consequently, health messages about SSBs from dentists, physicians, and other healthcare providers as well as policy approaches at the school, state, and national levels to limit consumption of SSBs may collectively impact both the development of dental caries and obesity, leading to overall better health for children.


Georgia; beverages; child; dental caries; drinking behavior

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