The aim of this paper was to investigate associations between the intake of dairy products and the development in caries (DMFS, decayed, missing and filled surfaces) among children/adolescents over a period of 3 and 6 years, and to investigate whether dairy intake protects against caries incidence. A total of 68.9% of the children were caries free at the age of 9 compared with 34.0% of the adolescents at the age of 15 (measured as DMFS = 0). A larger percentage of children/adolescents with a dairy intake above the mean were caries free compared with the group of children/adolescents with an intake below the mean (72.8 vs. 65.8% at age 9 and 41.1 vs. 30.7% at age 15). The results from the generalized estimation equation showed that dairy and milk intake, as well as intakes of components of dairy such as dairy calcium, whey and casein, was generally inversely associated with childhood/adolescent caries experience (measured as DMFS). With regard to caries incidence, the same inverse association was found for incidence over a period of 3 years and for incidence over 6 years, but the results were only statistically significant for the 3-year incidence and for the unadjusted models of the 6-year incidence. This study found that previous dairy intake, as well as milk intake or intake of dairy components, may be a predictor of future risk of caries measured by the DMFS count level. This relationship was inverse, meaning that a high intake of dairy products was associated with less future caries development. However, more studies on larger cohorts are needed to confirm these findings.

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