Oral health habits in pre-term children

a concern for healthcare professionals


  • Karolline Alves Viana Universidade Federal de Goiás
  • Ludmilla Ferreira Euzébio Universidade Federal de Goiás
  • Andréa Araujo de Oliveira Cortines Universidade Federal de Goiás
  • Luciane Rezende Costa Universidade Federal de Goiás




Premature birth, Oral health, Habits


Aim: This study aimed to identify dietary habits, non-nutritive sucking habits, and oral hygiene habits in the first three years of pre-term children.

Materials and Methods: This work consists of an observational, retrospective, descriptive study in which secondary data were collected from the clinical records of 109 children attended to at the Dental Clinic for Pre-term Children at the University Hospital of the Federal University of Goias (UFG), from February 2011 to July 2012. This study considered information regarding the child’s first dental visit: the child’s current age, gender, gestational age, dietary habits (natural breast-feeding, bottle feeding, extrinsic sugar consumption), non-nutritive sucking habits (sucking a pacifier and finger sucking), and oral hygiene habits. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics using the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS®), version 20.0.

Results: In the first dental visit, the pre-term children were from 1 to 33 months old (8.6±7,2), with 49 (45.0%) girls and 60 (55.0%) boys. The occurrence of natural breastfeeding in children under 6 months of age was 22.8%, with a predominance of mixed bottle-breastfeeding (45.6%). Of the total number of pre-term children, 79.8% were bottle-fed and 58.7% used pacifiers. Mothers of 73.4% of these children performed their oral hygiene, while 44.4% used only a soft cloth diaper to perform oral hygiene.

Conclusions: The percentage of exclusive breastfeeding was low. The majority of children presented some type of non-nutritive sucking habit. Most of the children received unsatisfactory oral hygiene. Thus, the establishment of educational- preventive programs are essential in an attempt to provide support to the family regarding their babies’ oral hygiene, geared toward the promotion of oral healthcare and the prevention of changes in the child’s stomatognathic system.


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How to Cite

Viana, K. A., Euzébio, L. F., Cortines, A. A. de O., & Costa, L. R. (2016). Oral health habits in pre-term children: a concern for healthcare professionals. Arquivos Em Odontologia, 49(3). https://doi.org/10.7308/aodontol/2013.49.3.06