Background: It has been suggested that oral organisms in children are mainly those transmitted from their mothers. That may account for the relationship between caries levels in children and their parents. However, few studies have investigated the effect of trying to prevent vertical transmission of oral organisms on dental caries levels in children, and the findings in the studies are controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between measures to prevent vertical transmission of oral organisms and the caries experience in 3-year-old children. Methods: Data were collected from dental examinations for 3-year-old children and a self-administered questionnaire for their caregivers. Absence of maternal sharing of utensils and mouth-to-mouth feeding between caregivers and children was used as the variable about behaviour to prevent vertical transmission of oral organisms. Sex, age in months, dietary behaviour, oral health behaviour and sociodemographic factors were used as covariates. Results and Conclusion: Data for 3,035 children (73.5% of the subjects) were analysed. Caregivers who practised vertical transmission prevention tended to have better oral health behaviours. Multivariate logistic regression analysis did not show any significant association between behaviour to prevent vertical transmission and caries experience (OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 0.86-1.41). This study suggests that caregiver behaviour to prevent vertical transmission was not effective in reducing levels of childhood caries.
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