Table of Contents
Journal of Oral Diseases
Volume 2014, Article ID 675658, 7 pages
Review Article

Global Research Trends on Early-Life Feeding Practices and Early Childhood Caries: A Systematic Review

1Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, University of California San Francisco, Suite 495, 3333 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-1361, USA
2Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, 2155 Webster Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA

Received 24 February 2014; Revised 29 April 2014; Accepted 3 May 2014; Published 19 May 2014

Academic Editor: Lin-P’ing Choo-Smith

Copyright © 2014 Benjamin W. Chaffee and Ashley Cheng. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To describe the epidemiologic literature related to early-life feeding practices and early childhood caries (ECC) with regard to publication attributes and trends in these attributes over time. Methods. Systematic literature review including electronic and manual searches (in BIOSIS, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, LILACS, MEDLINE, Web of Science, and WHOLIS), covering the years 1990–2013. Attributes of publications meeting a priori inclusion criteria were abstracted and organized by global region and trends over time. Attributes included country of origin and study design of included publications and age and caries prevalence of the populations studied. Results. 244 publications drawn from 196 independent study populations were included. The number of publications and the countries represented increased over time, although some world regions remained underrepresented. Most publications were cross-sectional (75%); while this percentage remained fairly constant over time, the percentage of studies to account for confounding factors increased. Publications varied with respect to the caries experience and age range of children included in each study. Conclusions. Publication productivity regarding feeding practices and ECC research has grown, but this growth has not been evenly distributed globally. Individual publication attributes (i.e., methods and context) can differ significantly and should be considered when interpreting and synthesizing the literature.