The prevalence and severity of dental caries were significantly less in breastfed children, especially in those children who were breastfed for 2 years, reports a study published in the Journal of Dental Specialities.
Mani Baweja and associates conducted an observational, descriptive study to compare the prevalence and severity of dental caries in children from 3-5 years of age with different patterns of breastfeeding practices.
All the children, aged 3-5 years, attending the Immunization Clinic/ Outpatient Department were recruited for the study. Children who fulfilled the inclusion criteria, a detailed lactation history was inquired from the mother. A lactation history criterion was used to assign them into different study groups.
- Group I included those children who were not breastfed at all/received breastfeeding for ≤ 2 weeks
- Group II: Children who were exclusively breastfed for 6 months and continued breastfeeding for ≤ 1 year
- Group III: Children who were exclusively breastfed for 6 months and continued breastfeeding for >1 year but ≤ 2 years. However, children£>1 year but consuming non-nutritive drinks e.g. water, tea, juices occasionally were included under exclusive breastfeeding. However, children consuming non-nutritive drinks e.g. water, tea, juices occasionally were included under exclusive breastfeeding.
The detailed case history was taken after recording the child’s basic information. A dental examination was carried out for each child and standardized indices were recorded for oral health assessment. The study sample consisted of 207 males and 153 females with the mean age of 4 years.
The study found that the number of children with dental caries was highest in Group I (61%) when compared to Group II (57%) and Group III (26%). There was the significant relation of dental caries with breastfeeding up to 2 years.
The study concluded that breastfeeding for 2 years was found most protective for dental caries and in view of above, breastfeeding up to the age of 2 years should be encouraged by pediatricians and pediatric dentist to promote oral health in 3-5-year-old children.
Breastfeeding and human milk are the reference normative standards for infant feeding and nutrition. It confers unique nutritional and non-nutritional benefits to the infant and the mother and optimizes growth and development of the child.
For reference log on to 10.18231/2393-9834.2017.0005