Oral health care of toothless babies important in preventing Cavities.

Researchers at the University of Illinois confirmed that the presence of bacteria associated with early childhood caries (ECC) in infant saliva. Early childhood caries (ECC) also known as baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD) is defined as a presence of one or more tooth decayed, missing tooth, or filled surface tooth in any primary tooth in children.

"By the time a child reaches kindergarten, 40 percent have dental cavities," said Kelly Swanson, lead researcher and U of I professor of animal science, published the study in PLoS ONE.

Swanson studied infants before the eruption of teeth, compared to most other studies that focus on children already in preschool or kindergarten, after many whom already developed dental cavities.

Researchers using high-throughput molecular technique, which allows scientist to quickly conduct millions of chemical, genetic or pharmacological tests, were able to characterize entire community of oral microscopic living organisms of a region, rather than focusing on few individual bacteria. Kelly was able to examine a whole population of bacteria, which gives a better overview. Dental cavities are results of many bacteria in a community, not just once cause.

Researchers were able to find out that the oral bacterial community in infants without teeth was much more diverse than expected. They were able to identify hundreds of species, presenting in the study those different types of bacteria; cause biofilm formation or associated with ECC are already present in infant saliva.

This justifies more research on the evolution of the infant oral bacterial community.

"The soft tissues in the mouth appear to serve as reservoirs for potential pathogens prior to tooth eruption," said Swanson. "We want to characterize the microbial evolution that occurs in the oral cavity between birth and tooth eruption, as teeth erupt, and as dietary changes occur such as breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, liquid to solid food, and changes in nutrient profile."

Swanson said educating parents-to-be on oral hygiene and dietary habits is the most important strategy for prevention of dental cavities.

According to the American Dental Association to minimize Early Childhood Caries (ECC) Parents should:

-Avoid sharing spoons and forks with the infant

-Use water to clean a pacifier

-Proper feeding techniques and cleaning the infants mouth

-Removing bottle when infant falls asleep

-Wipe infant’s gums with damp washcloth at least twice a day or after feeding

-Stick with feeding schedule and limit between meal snacking