• Mothers' Taste Perception and their Preschool Children's Dental Caries Experience

      ALANZI, ABRAR; Tinanoff, Norman (2011)
      Purpose: The main purpose of this study was to find out the overall caries experience of the preschool children among mothers of various taste sensitivities to the bitter taste of 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP). Additionally, the effects of maternal demographic data, living conditions, children's oral hygiene practices and mutans streptococci levels on the association between mothers' taste and dental caries of children were investigated. Methods: A total of 60 child-mother pairs, attending the pediatric dental clinic at the University of Maryland, matched the inclusion criteria: healthy children, aged 2-3 years old, and their mothers as primary caregivers. Only 38 mothers who were identified as supertasters or non-tasters, based on their taste sensitivity to PROP test, were selected. PROP supertasters express the lowest acceptance for strong bitter and sweet tastes while PROP non-tasters express the highest acceptance for strong bitter and sweet tastes. Data about maternal demographic and oral hygiene practices of the children were obtained by orally administered questionnaire. Children received a clinical examination to determine dental caries prevalence as well as were tested for mutans streptococci (MS) levels. Results: Among 38 child-mother pairs, 20 mothers were supertasters (aversion to sugars) and 18 mothers were non-tasters (preference of sugars). Children of non-taster mothers were found to have significantly higher prevalence of dental caries and mean dmfs of maxillary anterior teeth than those of supertaster mothers (p<0.05). If grandparents of a child from non-taster mothers reportedly lived in the same household, the child's dmfs score was increased (p=0.005). High consumption of sugary food and mothers' reportedly having caries were significantly associated with increased dmfs in children (p=0.037, p=0.003 respectively). Conclusion: The prevalence of dental caries in 2-3 years old children was significantly higher in the preschool children of non-taster mothers than those of supertaster mothers. Other dental caries risk factors for those children included mothers' reported dental caries experience, grandparents living in family, and high consumption of sugars by the child.