Maternal risk indicators for childhood caries in an inner city population

R. E. Smith, Victor M. Badner, Douglas E. Morse, Katherine Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study evaluated whether characteristics of mothers, such as high mutans streptococci (MS) level, caries experience, reported sugar consumption and demographic variables, could be important risk indicators of caries for their children. Methods: Mothers selected on the basis of the caries status of their 3-5-year-old-children were tested for MS, caries, reported sugar consumption and demographic variables. Results: We found strong associations between children's caries and their mothers' MS levels (high/low adj. OR = 11.3), maternal active caries (yes/no adj. OR = 4.0) and maternal sugar consumption (high/low adj. OR = 4.2). In this small study, mothers' demographic variables were not associated with the status of caries in their children. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that maternal high MS levels, maternal active decay and maternal sugar consumption are strong risk indicators for children's caries. Although further study is needed, these three maternal risk indicators, taken together, may prove useful in predicting children's caries risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Dental caries
  • Early childhood caries
  • Mutans streptococci
  • Risk indicators
  • Sugar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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