Nature vs Nurture? Environment Play a Bigger Role in Dental Cavities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Katrina Scurrah MDMelbourne School of Population and Global Health

Dr. Scurrah

Katrina Scurrah PhD
Senior Research Fellow (Biostatistician), Twins Research Australia, and Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne and
Honorary Fellow, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Oral health is an important component of general health and yet dental caries (decay) is still common in children (affecting up to one in three 5-6 year old children in Australia). Although we know that some genetic and lifestyle factors (such as diet) are important risk factors for caries, the relative importance of these is still unclear.  Risk factors from pregnancy and very early childhood (even before teeth appear) might also be important. This study is the first to include prospectively measured data on health and well-being from pregnancy, birth and early childhood in a study of twin children. We analysed data from a cohort of 172 pairs of twin children to assess the effects of genes and environment on susceptibility to dental caries at six years-of-age.

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Sugar-Sweetened Beverages During Adolescence Linked To Dental Cavities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Caries” by COM SALUD Agencia de comunicación is licensed under CC BY 2.0Teresa A. Marshall, PhD
Professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry
University of Iowa College of Dentistry
Iowa City

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Dental caries is a process during which oral bacteria ferment carbohydrates to produce acid. The acid demineralizes enamel and/or dentin at the tooth surface leading to white spots and eventually cavitation in the tooth. Added sugars – those not naturally present in foods or beverages, but rather added during processing – are the primary type of carbohydrate associated with caries. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs; beverages with added sugars) are the food/beverage category most associated with dental caries.

Historically, fluoride has protected against caries through remineralization of the enamel. However, there has been some question as to whether fluoride’s ability to protect against caries is overwhelmed by the quantity of added sugars currently consumed.

Oral hygiene behaviors – brushing and flossing – are thought protect against caries by disrupting the oral bacteria on the tooth.

Most studies have investigated dietary factors and caries during early childhood, with less attention paid to caries during adolescence.

Our objective was to identify associations between longitudinal beverage intakes and adolescent caries experience, while also considering fluoride intake and tooth brushing behaviors.

We followed a group of children from birth through age 17 years; during this time period, we looked at their beverage intakes, fluoride intakes and brushing behaviors every 3-6 months. We calculated their average milk, 100% juice, SSB, water/water-based beverage and fluoride intakes from 6 months through 17 years, and daily tooth brushing from 1 through 17 years.

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