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Can Oral Care for Babies Prevent Future Cavities?

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Can Oral Care for Babies Prevent Future Cavities?
New parents have one more reason to pay attention to the oral health of their toothless babies.
A recent University of Illinois study confirms the presence of bacteria associated with early childhood caries (ECC) in infant saliva.
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ECC is a virulent form of caries, more commonly known as tooth decay or a cavity.
Cavities are the most prevalent infectious disease in U.S. children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"By the time a child reaches kindergarten, 40 percent have dental cavities," said Kelly Swanson, lead researcher and U of I professor of animal science.
"In addition, populations who are of low socioeconomic status, who consume a diet high in sugar, and whose mothers have low education levels are 32 times more likely to have this disease."

Swanson's novel study focused on infants before teeth erupted, compared to most studies focused on children already in preschool or kindergarten - after many children already have dental cavities.

Through 454 pyrosequencing, researchers learned that the oral bacterial community in infants without teeth was much more diverse than expected and identified hundreds of species.
This demonstration that many members of the bacterial community that cause biofilm formation or are associated with ECC are already present in infant saliva justifies more research on the evolution of the infant oral bacterial community, Swanson said.



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