Children's Health

Maternal transmission of cariogenic microbes could influence Early Childhood Caries risk

Freida Blostein, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, presented “Does Mothers’ Oral Microbiome Seed Children’s Microbiome Increasing Caries Risk?” at the hybrid 51st Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the AADOCR, held in conjunction with the 46th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), online and onsite in Atlanta, GA, on March 26, 2022.

Associations between poor maternal oral health and risk of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) suggest transmission of microbes from mother to child could influence ECC risk. The researchers tested if the maternal salivary microbiome seeds a cariogenic salivary community.

Ninety-nine children with white spots or lesions (diagnosed before 6-years of age) and 90 age-matched controls using incidence-density-sampling from the Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia 2 (COHRA2) cohort were selected. Children provided saliva samples at 2- and 12-months and yearly thereafter. Maternal saliva samples from the two-month visit were available for 90 children with 1- and 2-year samples. Saliva samples were sequenced for the V4 region of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene to measure the bacterial community. The researchers identified ECC-associated taxa using random forests and tested if the presence and abundance of cariogenic taxa associated with presence and abundance in maternal samples.

Although maternal transmission of cariogenic microbes has been a source of concern, the researchers found little correlation between maternal and child salivary microbiomes prior to age 2. By contrast, bacteria correlated between mothers and children were associated with lower risk of ECC.

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