Lead Author Affiliation

Doctor of Dental Surgery

Lead Author Program & Year

IDS Year 2

Presentation Category

Research

Introduction/Context/Diagnosis

Dental caries is perhaps the most common bacterial infection in humans. Mutans streptococci are the principal bacteria responsible for dental caries. Infants are thought to acquire these organisms by vertical transmission from an infected individual, primarily the mother within a discrete period called the “window of infectivity”. Recent investigations showed that colonization of S. mutans can occur in pre-dentate infants. If an infant acquires MS from the mother before or after the emergence of the primary teeth, preventive interventions aimed at reducing the mother’s burden of MS could prevent or reduce the vertical transmission of these organism to infants and hence reduce subsequent caries experience.

Methods/Treatment Plan

A review of literature was done using four search engines (PubMed, Scorpius, Google Scholar, and Science Direct) with keywords: Prenatal Oral Health Care, ECC, Caries, and Streptococcus Mutans. The search was run with no language restrictions and covered period 1997 – 2016.

Results/Outcome

Thirteen articles, including two meta-analyses and Cochrane Library review were included. Vast majority of studies were hospital-based. Many public health factors, like socioeconomic disadvantage, ethnic minorities, and quality of dental care in developing countries negatively influenced quality of dental care during pregnancy. Although characteristics used for analysis slightly differed in the reviewed studies, the positive influence of oral health maintenance of pregnant mothers leading to decreased incidence of ECC in their children was clearly demonstrated.

Significance/Conclusions

There is no doubt that maintenance of good oral and dental health and preventive strategies including regular dental check-up during pregnancy are important for dental health of the child. However, even in the US and other developed countries, oral and dental health care is often neglected during pregnancy. Education, oral health promotion, and development of guidance programs addressing disparities, minorities, and ethnical differences for women, who are planning or are already pregnant, are critically important for prevention of ECC in children.

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Prevention of Early Childhood Caries with Prenatal Oral Health Care

Dental caries is perhaps the most common bacterial infection in humans. Mutans streptococci are the principal bacteria responsible for dental caries. Infants are thought to acquire these organisms by vertical transmission from an infected individual, primarily the mother within a discrete period called the “window of infectivity”. Recent investigations showed that colonization of S. mutans can occur in pre-dentate infants. If an infant acquires MS from the mother before or after the emergence of the primary teeth, preventive interventions aimed at reducing the mother’s burden of MS could prevent or reduce the vertical transmission of these organism to infants and hence reduce subsequent caries experience.