Exclusive Breastfeeding and Risk of Dental Malocclusion
OBJECTIVES: The distinct effect of exclusive and predominant breastfeeding on primary dentition malocclusions is still unclear. We hypothesized that exclusive breastfeeding presents a higher protective effect against malocclusions than predominant breastfeeding and that the use of a pacifier modifies the association between breastfeeding and primary dentition malocclusions.
METHODS: An oral health study nested in a birth cohort study was conducted at age 5 years (N = 1303). The type of breastfeeding was recorded at birth and at 3, 12, and 24 months of age. Open bite (OB), crossbite, overjet (OJ), and moderate/severe malocclusion (MSM) were assessed. Poisson regression analyses were conducted by controlling for sociodemographic and anthropometric characteristics, sucking habits along the life course, dental caries, and dental treatment.
RESULTS: Predominant breastfeeding was associated with a lower prevalence of OB, OJ, and MSM, but pacifier use modified these associations. The same findings were noted between exclusive breastfeeding and OJ and between exclusive breastfeeding and crossbite. A lower prevalence of OB was found among children exposed to exclusive breastfeeding from 3 to 5.9 months (33%) and up to 6 months (44%) of age. Those who were exclusively breastfed from 3 to 5.9 months and up to 6 months of age exhibited 41% and 72% lower prevalence of MSM, respectively, than those who were never breastfed.
CONCLUSIONS: A common risk approach, promoting exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age to prevent childhood diseases and disorders, should be an effective population strategy to prevent malocclusion.
- Accepted April 1, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics