The purpose was to study associations between tooth brushing frequency, use of fluoride lozenges and consumption of sugary drinks at 1.5 years of age and having caries experience at 5 years of age.
This study was based on data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and by the Public Dental Services. A total of 1095 children were followed from pregnancy to the age of 5 years. Questionnaires regarding oral health behavior were completed by the parents at 1.5 and 5 years of age. Clinical and radiographic examination of the children was performed at the age of 5 years.
In multiple logistic regression, having caries experience at 5 years of age was associated with; at 1.5 years of age having the teeth brushed less than twice daily (OR = 2.1, CI = 1.3-3.6) and being offered sugary drinks at least once a week (OR = 1.8, CI = 1.1-2.9) when controlled for family characteristics and oral health behavior at 5 years of age.
Tooth brushing frequency and consumption of sugary drinks in early childhood were related to caries development during pre-school age, independent of family characteristics and oral health behavior at 5 years of age. The results indicate that early established habits regarding tooth brushing and consumption of sugary drinks have long-term effects on caries development. Parents encountering difficulties in establishing favorable oral health behavior in children's first years of life should receive special attention from health personnel.