High levels of Streptococcus mutans on teeth of young children are predictive of early childhood caries (ECC). Transmission of S mutans from mother to child is common and studies have demonstrated that treatment of the mother results in less ECC. A study by Dr. Peter Milgrom et al published online in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry was designed to determine how dentists have adopted the practice of counseling about ECC.
In 2006, as part of a larger study on dental care for pregnant women, the authors surveyed 829 general dentists in Oregon to determine the extent to which general dentists have adopted counseling pregnant women about ECC transmission, to describe personal and practice characteristics, and examine how dentists’ views on the ease of adopting of new procedures related to ECC counseling. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify separate and additive effects of demographic and practice characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs. The study found that the adjusted odds of a dentist who strongly believed in the link between mothers and babies and provided ECC counseling were 1.60 (95% CI 1.3-2.0, P < .01). The odds of a dentist who reported discussing ECC with staff members and provided counseling were 2.7 (95% CI 1.7-4.3, P < .01). Male dentists were less likely to counsel patients than female dentists (adjusted odds ratio = 0.5, 95% CI 0.3-1.0, P < .05). The authors conclude that the strongest predictors of counseling patients about ECC were dentists’ belief in the evidence of caries transmission and dentists’ discussion of ECC during staff meetings.
(Source: Journal of Public Health Dentistry, September 13, 2012)