Study to focus on tooth decay in infants
ADELAIDE, Australia: Dental researchers at the University of Adelaide are currently urging mothers of newborn children to join their new study. In order to understand how tooth decay in very young children can be prevented, the scientists aim to recruit 1,800 children from birth until 2 to 3 years.
Overall, the researchers hope that the Study of Mothers’ and Infants’ Life Events affecting oral health (SMILE) will help identify the critical factors that shape the oral health of toddlers and preschool children.
By completing questionnaires, parents of the children involved in the study will be providing information on various aspects of their child’s life, including diet, fluid consumption and other factors that might lead to different levels of tooth decay risk. The children will undergo dental examinations at age 2 to 3. In addition, any health conditions, such as obesity, will be noted.
“We believe that oral health should not be looked at in isolation from other factors in children's lives, and that a combined preventive approach, targeting both oral health and general health conditions, could yield significantly greater benefits for children,” said Dr Loc Do, study leader and Associate Professor at the university’s School of Dentistry.
The researchers also hope to gain further insights into differences in the determinants of oral health of children in different socio-economic groups. “This could provide us with the opportunity to develop targeted strategies to improve the oral health of disadvantaged young children,” Do said.
The study is being funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.