Dietary Determinants of Dental Caries and Dietary Recommendations for Preschool Children

Norman Tinanoff DDS, MS Department of Pediatric Dentistry Dental School, University of Maryland

CarolA. Palmer EdD, RD Department of General Dentistry Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Key Words: dental caries, preschool children, diet, recommendations, nutrition, education Correspondenceto: Norman Tinanoff Department of Pediatric Dentistry 666 W. Baltimore St., Room 3 E 10 Dental School, University of Maryland Baltimore, MD 21201 410 706 7970 ntinanoff@dental.umaryland.edu ABSTRACT Objectives: The purpose of this review, commissioned by the Administration for Children and

Families, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Health Care FinancingAdministration, and the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, was to update the evidence of the dietary factors that affect dental caries, and subsequently formulate dietary recommendations forpreschool children based on principles of cariology. Methods: Literature on the dental caries process, dietary factors affecting dental caries initiation and progression, nutrition education andcounseling were reviewed and synthesized. Dietary guidelines for children at various ages were then constructed based on the review. Results: Dental caries in preschool children is due to a combinationof factors, including colonization of teeth with cariogenic bacteria, type of foods and frequency of exposure of these foods to the cariogenic bacteria, and susceptible teeth. Caries risk is greatestif sugars are consumed at high frequency and are in a form that is retained in the mouth for long periods. Sucrose is the most cariogenic sugar because it can form glucan that enables firm bacterialadhesion to teeth and limits diffusion of acid and buffers in the plaque. There is emerging interest in the effects of tooth development and its role in the future dental caries risk of the child.... [continua]

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