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What is the Impact of Between-Meal Sugary Snacks and Beverages on Early Childhood Caries?


During the most recent conference of the IADR/AADR/CADR, a variety of new oral health research studies were presented. One of them is the impact of between-meal sugary snacks and beverages on early childhood caries. The topic is somewhat under researched and a group of researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, attempted to answer some of the related questions. 

I interviewed Dr. Walid Al-Soneidar, a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology and a Research Assistant in the Department of Dental Ecology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

The conference of the International Association of Dental Research/the American Association of Dental Research/Canadian Association of Dental Research is an annual event that gathers oral health researchers worldwide and explores the latest in the world of oral health research.

I hope you enjoy the conversation. We are always seeking your feedback, suggestions, and questions at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

Until next time!

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager 


  • Dietary sugars constitute a well-established causal component in early childhood caries (ECC) development. However, evidence for the prevalence and role of frequent between-meal sugar-containing snacks and beverages (BMSB) consumption is scant.
  • The authors sought to: a) determine the prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of BMSB consumption, and b) quantify the association between BMSB and clinically-determined dental caries, in the context of a community-based genetic epidemiologic study of early childhood oral health.
  • Forty-nine percent of the examined children had caries experience; most (66%) reported moderate BMSB consumption, whereas 29% and 5% reported low and high consumption, respectively. BMSB differed between racial groups with African-Americans having the highest consumption.
  • Caries prevalence was higher among those with ‘high’ and ‘moderate’ BMSB consumption compared to ‘low’. Adjustment for children’s and parents’ socio-demographic characteristics, slightly attenuated the estimate of association between ‘high’ vs. ‘low’ BMSB consumption and dental caries.
  • There was a strong positive gradient between the frequency of BMSB consumption and dental caries, irrespective of children’s socio-demographic characteristics. Concerted family-, community-, and system-level efforts are warranted to reduce sugar exposure and thus promote oral health among vulnerable populations of preschool-age children.

Full Interview (13.43″)



  1. Lesia Waschuk May 1, 2018

    What an important clinically relevant topic. Thanks for publishing this report of a credible research study. I would expect nothing less from JCDA-OASIS, of course, but wanted to post a shout out to you for your choice of subject matter.

    1. JCDA Oasis May 1, 2018

      Thank you very much Dr. Waschuk. There’s nothing more gratifying than knowing that we are adding value to our members.
      Chiraz, CDA Oasis

  2. Reza Nouri May 6, 2018

    this an interesting investigation that can provide scientific evidence for a common assertion amongst our dental community. However, I wonder if this specific investigation showed a “trend” or a statistically significant difference amongst the groups. The plots certainly do not appear to show that! thank you.

    1. Walid Al-Soneidar May 15, 2018

      Dr. Nouri, that is a very good question! Indeed, the Cochran-Armitage test for trend was significant for both parental education and frequency of snacks and beverages variables. The p-value for these tests can be found on the upper right corner of the respective slides. Regards, -Walid Al-Soneidar

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