Do you have untreated tooth decay or dental caries? Do other members of your family suffer from untreated tooth decay? Have you ever wondered about the familial association or connection with tooth decay? Well, let me share with you some interesting information I learned from an article published in the Journal of Dental Research, March 2014, that discusses a relationship between a mother’s saliva and the oral health of her children.
The research was done by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentitistry and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry and they were looking for a piece of the solution to break the “intergenerational chain of oral health disadvantage”. First of all, the intergenerational relationship that exists between the oral health of parents and their children is one that is long established in the dental and medical community. This study examined the association between the bacterial makeup of a parent’s mouth and that of their children. Research into this area has resulted in connections between higher levels of salivary mutans streptococci (MS) in mothers and their children. The researchers suspected that higher maternal levels of MS and lactobacilli (LB) could be connected to an increase in the presence of caries in their children.
The group of researchers looked at a cohort that included low-income Hispanic women registered as patients at a health center near the U.S.-Mexico border. The study participants lived in a community without fluoridated water and were in their second trimester of pregnancy. The study participants were aged 18 to 33 years with a stable address. The study required participants to provide saliva samples prior to the birth, to respond to questionnaires, dental assessments and saliva collection at four, nine, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four and thirty-six months after the birth of the child.
They found that the higher the mother’s rate of dental caries before birth correlated to higher risks of untreated decay in their children. One hundred percent of the mothers experienced caries during the pregnancy and 34 percent of their children had caries by the age of 36 months and 31 percent had untreated decay! The researchers hope to break this intergenerational chain of oral health problems with better implemented maternal-child health initiatives.
What Does This Mean To You?
Your takeway is simply this: the health of the mother does absolutely affect the health of her children, whether it’s oral health or overall general health. Mom, taking care of yourself is a win-win situation for you and your family. If you suspect that you have dental caries, gum disease, tooth decay or any type of periodontist issues, whether you’re pregnant or not, your Periodontist on Long Island can help to identify and treat it. Call Dr. Scharf at (631) 661-6633 or visit him online at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he treats gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.