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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1994 Apr;29(2):121-7.

Pacifiers and dental structure as risk factors for otitis media.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Oulu, Finland.


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between ear infections and dentition, sucking habits, pacifier sucking and atopic and allergic diseases in a historic cohort survey. The series comprised 944 5-year-old children representing about 3/4 of the whole age cohort. The parents completed a questionnaire that asked for details of the children's ear infections, sucking habits and atopic or allergic diseases diagnosed by a physician. The dental status was examined by the child's own local dentist. The children who had used a pacifier had a greater risk of having recurrent attacks of acute otitis media in their history than those who had not used a pacifier (risk ratio (RR), 1.43; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06-1.93; P = 0.02). Mouth breathing was significantly associated with acute otitis media (RR, 1.87; CI, 1.28-2.73; P = 0.01), as was open bite (RR, 1.36; CI, 1.01-1.84; P = 0.04), but no other mode of malocclusion. The population attributable risk of otitis media caused by pacifier amounted to a total of 478 attacks or 0.7 per child. The association between otitis media and the use of a pacifier remained even after adjusting for mouth breathing and the measures of malocclusion. Neither thumb sucking nor atopic eczema showed such an association.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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