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Pediatr Dent. 2015 Sep-Oct;37(5):462-7.

Association of Healthy Eating, Juice Consumption, and Bacterial Counts with Early Childhood Caries.

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Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.
Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.



To investigate the association of healthy diet, snacking, and bacterial count with early childhood caries in a group of preschool children in Alexandria, Egypt.


Sixty preschoolers were divided into three groups: (1) caries-free children; (2) children with early childhood caries (ECC); and (3) children with severe early childhood caries (S-ECC). Saliva was cultured to determine bacterial counts. A questionnaire collected information about background, oral health practices, and snacking habits. A 24-hour food recall form assessed dietary intake and was analyzed using the Health Eating Index 2005.


Compared to caries-free children, children with ECC and S-ECC had significantly lower odds of drinking juices (odds ratio equals 0.10 and 0.02). Caries-free children had significantly higher Healthy Eating Index values than children with ECC and S-ECC (P=0.003 and P<0.0001). Total streptococci and Streptococcus mutans counts were significantly higher in children with ECC and S-ECC (P<0.0001 for all), whereas Streptococcus sanguis counts were lower (P=0.04 and P=0.01).


Drinking juices was associated with less early childhood caries and severe early childhood caries among preschoolers. Snacking on sweets was associated with more S-ECC. Healthy eating, brushing, and bacterial counts were not significantly associated with ECC or S-ECC in multivariate regression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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