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Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2016 Jun;17(2):93-9.

Familial and dietary risk factors in Early Childhood Caries.

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Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Istituto Stomatologico Italiano (ISI), Milan, Italy.
Fondazione De Marchi, Paediatric Department, RCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan-Italy.
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Cá Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Laboratorio di Statistica Medica ed Epidemiologia 'G.A. Maccacaro' Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Dental Hygienist University of Pisa, Italy.
Director of Post Graduate School of Orthodontics, Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences , University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.
Department of Surgical, Medical, Molecular and Critical Area Pathology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.



To evaluate the causes of Early Childhood Caries.



A statistical comparison of two groups of patients, aged between 3 and 6, and their parents, in the 3-year period 2013-2015 was performed. Two groups of patients were selected: 40 children with early childhood caries (ECC group) and 40 children with no decay (controls). Parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire on food habits, oral hygiene habits, fluoride prophylaxis and family history of caries. A dental visit of children and parents was performed (collection of dmft and DMFT index). The saliva features of the two groups of children (concentration of Streptococcus mutans, pH of the oral cavity and buffer capability of stimulated saliva) were examined by means of salivary tests. The distribution of the population was analysed and parametric and non-parametric tests for continuous and non-continuous variables, were used when appropriate. The statistical significance was set at p > 0.005.


The average age, gender and BMI index of children of the two groups was similar. The difference between the two groups is statistically significant for pH (p=0.000) and buffer capability (p=0.001). The DMFT index in the group of mothers of ECC children is higher compared to the mothers of controls (p=0.004). The comparison among the means, for the parameters connected to the consumption of fruit juice, tea, soft drinks, candies, use of pacifier dipped in sugar or honey and the length (in months) of consumption of candies show statistically significant differences (p>0.05). The pH is higher in those children (24) who never consumed fruit juice, tea, soft drinks before the information received (p<0.05).


Children developing Early Childhood Caries have a diet characterised by high free sugars intake. Diet and, in particular, the consumption of drinks containing free sugars is the most important factor in determining the onset of ECC, being able to affect the oral environment and, in particular, saliva. There is a relationship between maternal and child's oral health, with a DMFT higher in mothers of ECC subjects than in controls' mothers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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