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Maternal risk indicators for childhood caries in an inner city population

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Smith RE, Badner VM, Morse DE, Freeman K. Maternal risk indicators for childhood caries in an inner city population. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2002; 30: 176–81. ¬©¬†Blackwell Munksgaard, 2002 Abstract Objectives:

This study evaluated whether characteristics of mothers, such as high mutans streptococci (MS) level, caries experience, reported sugar consumption and demographic variables, could be important risk indicators of caries for their children. Methods: 

Mothers selected on the basis of the caries status of their 3–5-year-old-children were tested for MS, caries, reported sugar consumption and demographic variables. Results:

We found strong associations between children's caries and their mothers' MS levels (high/low adj. OR = 11.3), maternal active caries (yes/no adj. OR = 4.0) and maternal sugar consumption (high/low adj. OR = 4.2). In this small study, mothers' demographic variables were not associated with the status of caries in their children. Conclusions:

Our findings suggest that maternal high MS levels, maternal active decay and maternal sugar consumption are strong risk indicators for children's caries. Although further study is needed, these three maternal risk indicators, taken together, may prove useful in predicting children's caries risk.
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Keywords: dental caries; early childhood caries; mutans streptococci; risk indicators; sugar

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Montefiore Medical Center, Montefiore Dental Center at Jacobi Hospital, Bronx, New York and 2: New York University College of Dentistry, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Kriser Dental Center, New York, NY, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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