Breast milk is the ideal food for infants by providing nutrients for their development and providing protection against infection, in addition to the psychological benefits arising from the mother-child involvement. Regarding oral health, breastfeeding has been associated with adequate growth and development of the maxillo-mandibular. The objectives of this study was to investigate the association between duration of breastfeeding, harmful habits and malocclusion, as well as investigate the association between these habits and malocclusion. We conducted a cross-sectional study with children ages 2–5 years in areas covered by the PSF and PACS in the city of Salvador, Bahia in 2005. We carried out the diagnosis of malocclusions in children and was administered to mothers, a questionnaire on breastfeeding duration and oral habits. We conducted a descriptive analysis of variables of interest and stratified crude associations were estimated by prevalence ratios and CIs at 95%, obtained by the Mantel-Haenszel method. The prevalence of malocclusion was 39.5%. Of children breastfed for <6 months, 74.2% had oral habits and 51.6% malocclusion. An association between short duration of breastfeeding and presence of deleterious sucking habits (PR=1.97, CI 1.59 to 2.45), as well as the occurrence of malocclusion (PR=1.54, CI 1.16 to −2.03). The association between sucking habits and malocclusion was statistically significant (PR=2.31, CI 1.67 to 3.22). We stress the importance of encouraging breastfeeding for over 6 months and discourage the use of pacifiers, aiming preventing the occurrence of malocclusions.
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