Health behaviors and family characteristics in early childhood influence caries development. A longitudinal study based on data from MoBa
Background: Lifestyle diseases including dental caries are partly preventable, and associated with health behavior. Establishing favorable health behavior is one main challenge both in general and dental health services. The purpose of this paper was to focus on cross-disciplinary research that has the potential to prevent development of both dental caries and other lifestyle diseases. More specifically the aim was to study how family characteristics and health behavior in pregnancy and early childhood influence caries development in preschool children.
Material and methods: Data from dental examination of 5 year old children in the public dental services was linked to data from MoBa. In total, 1348 children were followed from pregnancy to 5 years of age. The data has provided opportunity to follow longitudinally the development of oral health behavior in early childhood in a large sample, and to study associations between caries development during preschool age and information in the MoBa database.
Results: Results from the studies showed that tooth brushing frequency established at 1.5 year of age was stable through preschool age. Caries development in preschool age was related to child and maternal risk behavior in early childhood and to characteristics of risk families.
Conclusion: Cross-disciplinary research using MoBa data has given new knowledge on dental caries development in early childhood in Norway. This knowledge can be used in clinical practice both in general and dental health services to improve preventive efforts towards early childhood caries and other lifestyle diseases.
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