Association of Streptococcus mutans infection and oral developmental nodules in pre-dentate infants

J Dent Res. 2001 Oct;80(10):1945-8. doi: 10.1177/00220345010800101601.

Abstract

Since dental caries may present soon after tooth eruption, we hypothesized that colonization of Streptococcus mutans can occur in the predentate stages. In this study, we examined S. mutans colonization and its association with oral developmental nodules (Bohn's nodules) in 60 pre-term and 128 full-term, three-month-old infants. Overall, S. mutans was cultured from 30% (56/188) of the infants, and oral developmental nodules were noted in 55% (103/188). Compared with the pre-term, full-term infants showed a higher prevalence of S. mutans (34% vs. 20%, p < 0.02) as well as developmental nodules (61% vs. 42%, p < 0.05). In both groups, S. mutans was positively associated with numbers of developmental nodules in a dose-response relationship (p < 0.001), and with maternal salivary levels of the bacteria (p = 0.03). The permanence of S. mutans infection was confirmed by repeat saliva sampling at 6 months of age. Our results thus showed that many infants have already acquired S. mutans at 3 months of age, prior to tooth eruption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Process / microbiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cysts / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Logistic Models
  • Mouth Diseases / complications*
  • Mouth Mucosa / microbiology
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications*
  • Streptococcal Infections / transmission
  • Streptococcus mutans / growth & development*
  • Tongue / microbiology