Effect of antimicrobial interventions on the oral microbiota associated with early childhood caries

Yihong Li, Anne Tanner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The purposes of this systematic literature review were to identify research-based evidence for an effect of antimicrobial therapeutic approaches on the cariogenic microbiota and early childhood caries (ECC) outcomes; and to review methods used to perform microbial assessments in clinical studies of ECC. Methods: Multiple databases were searched; only clinical cohort studies and randomized controlled trials published from 1998 to 2014 were selected. A total of 471 titles and abstracts were identified; 114 studies met the inclusion criteria for a full review, from which 41 studies were included in the meta-analyses. Results: In most of the reviewed studies, moderate reductions in cariogenic bacterial levels, mainly in mutans streptococci (MS), were demonstrated following the use of antimicrobial agents, but bacterial regrowth occurred and new carious lesions developed once the treatment had ceased, particularly in high-risk children. Relatively consistent findings suggested that anti-cariogenic microbial interventions in mothers significantly reduced MS acquisition by children. However, studies of the longterm benefits of ECC prevention are lacking. Conclusion: Based on the meta-analyses, antimicrobial interventions and treatments show temporary reductions in MS colonization levels. However, there is insufficient evidence to indicate that the approaches used produced sustainable effects on cariogenic microbial colonization or ECC reduction and prevention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)226-244
    Number of pages19
    JournalPediatric dentistry
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - May 1 2015



    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Medicine


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