A new study by NYU dental researchers suggests that women with dental caries (cavities) who deliver Caesarean-section babies should pay special attention to their newborns’ oral health.
The NYU researchers focused on a caries-causing bacterium that mothers with caries transmit to their newborns. Known as Streptococcus mutans, the bacterium grows on tooth surfaces and in crannies between teeth just above the gum line, where it multiplies and converts foods, especially those containing sugar and starch, into acids that break into the tooth surface.
C-section deliveries were infected by the bacterium almost a year earlier than vaginally-delivered infants in the four-year study of 156 mother-infant pairs published in the September issue of the Journal of Dental Research. The first signs of the bacterium appeared at an average of 17.1 months of age in C-section babies, compared to 28.8 months in vaginally-delivered infants, a significant finding since previous studies have linked earlier bacterial infection with a higher rate of dental caries in children.
Elyse Bloom | EurekAlert!
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