Baby bottle tooth decay in native American children in head start centers

E. Broderick, J. Mabry, D. Robertson, J. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Baby bottle tooth decay is a unique pattern of dental caries (tooth decay) affecting the dentition of young children. It is associated with the practice of putting the child to sleep with a nursing bottle filled with liquid that contains sugar. Practitioners who treat Native American children have noted that this population suffers from a high prevalence of the condition. In order to establish specific program priorities and treatment needs for this segment of the Native American population, additional information is required on both prevalence and severity of baby bottle tooth decay. In this survey, an overall prevalence of 70 percent was observed when Navajo and Cherokee Head Start students ages 4-5 years were examined. Of the children affected by baby bottle tooth decay, 87 percent displayed the most severe manifestation of the disease. The prevalence of this disease in these Native American children appears to be substantially higher than in other populations. Futher study is needed to identify the factors contributing to this difference in prevalence and to identify effective measures for reducing the occurrence of baby bottle tooth decay among Native Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-54
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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