In the current literature database, information on microbiological attributes to caries outcomes in African American populations is limited and scattered. Few reports have discussed MS infection and transmission from African American mothers to their children. During the past few years, the research group at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Jefferson County Public Health Department have done a series of extensive studies to systematically investigate the prevalence of MS colonization, the time of initial MS infection as defined as "the window of infectivity," the source of MS transmission as defined as "the fidelity of transmission," and the chemotherapeutic management of MS transmission and caries prevention. The objective of this report was to summarize the main significant findings generated during a period of 15 years of study. One limitation of the studies outlined in this article is that the research populations were predominately African American families. The inclusion of white and other minorities would make the conclusions more generalizable to the US population as a whole. Nevertheless, the information presented in this report can serve as baseline knowledge for future studies of caries etiology in African American and other ethnic populations.
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