Majorana, Alessandra and Cagetti, Maria Grazia and Bardellini, Elena and Amadori, Francesca and Conti, Giulio and Strohmenger, Laura and Campus, Guglielmo Giuseppe (2014) Feeding and smoking habits as cumulative risk factors for early childhood caries in toddlers, after adjustment for several behavioral determinants: a retrospective study. BMC Pediatrics, Vol. 14 (45). eISSN 1471-2431. Article.
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Background: Several maternal health determinants during the first period of life of the child, as feeding practice, smoking habit and socio-economic level, are involved in early childhood health problems, as caries development. The potential associations among early childhood caries, feeding practices, maternal and environmental smoking exposure, Socio-Economic Status (SES) and several behavioral determinants were investigated.
Methods: Italian toddlers (n = 2395) aged 24–30 months were recruited and information on feeding practices, sweet dietary habit, maternal smoking habit, SES, and fluoride supplementation in the first year of life was obtained throughout a questionnaire administered to mothers. Caries lesions in toddlers were identified in visual/tactile examinations and classified using the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS). Associations between toddlers’ caries data and mothers’ questionnaire data were assessed using chi-squared test. Ordinal logistic regression was used to analyze associations among caries severity level (ICDAS score), behavioral factors and SES (using mean housing price per square meter as a proxy).
Results: Caries prevalence and severity levels were significantly lower in toddlers who were exclusively breastfed and those who received mixed feeding with a moderate–high breast milk component, compared with toddlers who received low mixed feeding and those exclusively fed with formula (p < 0.01). No moderate and high caries severity levels were observed in an exclusively breastfed children. High caries severity levels were significantly associated with sweet beverages (p < 0.04) and SES (p < 0.01). Toddlers whose mothers smoked five or more cigarettes/day during pregnancy showed a higher caries severity level (p < 0.01) respect to those whose mothers did not smoke. Environmental exposure to smoke during the first year of life was also significantly associated with caries severity (odds ratio =7.14, 95% confidence interval = 6.07-7.28). No association was observed between caries severity level and fluoride supplementation. More than 50% of toddlers belonging to families with a low SES, showed moderate or high severity caries levels (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Higher caries severity levels were observed in toddlers fed with infant formula and exposed to smoke during pregnancy living in area with a low mean housing price per square meter.
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