Study aims to Put Healthy Smile on Kids

Researchers are recruiting newborn babies and their mothers for a new dental study led by the University of Adelaide to help better understand how to prevent tooth decay in very young children.

The SMILE study (Study of Mothers’ and Infants’ Life Events affecting oral health) will help dental experts to identify the critical factors that cause tooth decay and shape oral health of toddlers and young preschool-aged children.

Associate Professor Loc Do, from the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) said “Despite a substantial level of resources being dedicated to pediatric oral health, dental decay remains one of the most prevalent chronic disease in children.” The study will look at 1800 children from birth until the age of 2-3 years, and will analyze their daily activities, feeding, and hygiene habits through surveys of their mothers.

Parents will complete questionnaires about various aspects of the child’s life, including diet and fluid consumption and other factors that might impact oral health. Then, the children will be given a dental exam between 2-3 years of age, and any health conditions such as child obesity, will be noted.

Associate Professor Do says the study could also point to differences in the determinants of oral health of children in different socioeconomic groups.

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