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Positive association between sugar consumption and dental decay prevalence in pre-school children

15 / 03 / 18

There is an association between frequent consumption of sugar-rich foods and dental decay in children under 5, partly attenuated by tooth brushing.

Logistic regression models were applied to UK longitudinal parental-reported survey data on diet and oral hygiene to predict dental decay by age 5. Results were: children who snacked all day rather than eating meals; consumed soft drinks more frequently; or ate sweets or chocolates once a day or more, had a higher chance of dental decay.  There was also an association between decreasing brushing frequency at age 2 and decay at age 5. For children eating sweets or chocolate once a day or more, brushing teeth more often reduced the chance of decay. Parents who reported feeling less in control of children’s sweet intake were more likely to have children with decay. Children from lower socio-economic backgrounds were more likely to experience decay. The authors comment that ultimately parental socioeconomic background explains more of the difference on children’s decay than diet or oral hygeine practices.

Skafida V, Chambers S. Positive association between sugar consumption and dental decay prevalence independent of oral hygiene in pre-school children: a longitudinal prospective study. J Public Health Dec 2017