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J Dent Res. 2010 Nov;89(11):1224-9. doi: 10.1177/0022034510376543. Epub 2010 Sep 21.

Diet and caries-associated bacteria in severe early childhood caries.

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Department of Public Health and Community Service, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Frequent consumption of cariogenic foods and bacterial infection are risk factors for early childhood caries (ECC). This study hypothesized that a short diet survey focused on frequency of foods, categorized by putative cariogenicity, would differentiate severe ECC (S-ECC) from caries-free children. Children's diets were obtained by survey and plaque bacteria detected by PCR from 72 S-ECC and 38 caries-free children. S-ECC children had higher scores for between-meal juice (p < 0.01), solid-retentive foods (p < 0.001), eating frequency (p < 0.005), and estimated food cariogenicity (p < 0.0001) than caries-free children. S-ECC children with lesion recurrence ate fewer putative caries-protective foods than children without new lesions. Streptococcus mutans (p < 0.005), Streptococcus sobrinus (p < 0.005), and Bifidobacteria (p < 0.0001) were associated with S-ECC, and S. mutans with S. sobrinus was associated with lesion recurrence (p < 0.05). S. mutans-positive children had higher food cariogenicity scores. Food frequency, putative cariogenicity, and S. mutans were associated with S-ECC individually and in combination.

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