To quantify risk factors for dental caries in a population of Queensland children: social; environmental; behavioural; physiological and inherited.
The Oral Health Sub-study began in November 2012 by examining mothers and their 6 year old children, these being the first (2006) birth cohort: examination of subsequent years is progressing. Detailed questionnaire data of families is available and new primary data on knowledge, attitudes and practices towards oral health are gathered. Height, waist circumference and stride length of mother and child are measured. They are weighed with an electronic Bio-Impedance balance, thereby recording body fat and water and body mass index. Caries is scored using the International Caries Detection and Scoring system (ICDAS II, 2007). Saliva is collected for physiological measures and DNA extracted for genetic studies. A pilot of the latter concentrates on potential epigenetic markers of risk based on methylation sequencing on the Roche SeqCap Epi platform.
Result: Results of the first 52 mother/child dyads shows significant correlations between the child’s caries experience and the mother’s BMI (p=0.02, r=+0.354). Child’s caries experience and that of the mothers was closely associated, though statistically not significant (p=0.064, r=+0.264).
Conclusion: The correlations found so far between maternal and child oral health indicators and disease experience give confidence in the protocol, justifying the search for genetic influences.