Are Preterm Children at Risk of Developing More Dental Caries Compared to Full Term Children?

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Faculty of Dentistry
Are Preterm Children At Risk Of Developing More Dental Caries Compared To Full Term Children? A Systematic Review Sally AbuKlam Hakeem Mohamed Yakub Noor Al-Zamani Senaa Hassain Asifali Sawani Rand Abdulraheem Sundes Jamil

Supervisor: Dr. Amir Azarpazhooh Instructor: Dr. Sonica Singhal

Submitted In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For Community Dentistry

Updated 12/June/2012

Are Preterm Children At Risk Of Developing More Dental Caries Compared To Full Term Children? A Systematic Review ABSTRACT Background Dental caries is a multi-factorial disease in any age group but preterm and low birth weight children maybe at greater risk. Adverse events in utero may impair immune development, elevating the risk of infection, or (1) extending the window of infectivity for acquisition of mutans streptococci and the development of caries. Objectives The goal was to assimilate the literature of the past decade to understand this relationship in a better way. Search methods Six databases (Cochrane Library, Ovid MEDLINE(R), Ovid MEDLINE(R) In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Pubmed, Scopus and Web of Knowledge) were systematically searched for evidence published in the past decade with the help an experienced librarian. Refworks, a citation manager, was used to eliminate duplicates, better organize the literature and to complete referencing of the review. The causation checklist (2) developed by Azarpazhooh et al. was used to assess the strength of evidence. The checklist cut off score was set to be 6 out of a maximum of 13 points. Selection criteria Criteria were set to include studies assessing caries risk/prevalence, published between July 2000-April 2012 with cohort or case-control study designs and a study population from birth to 6 years old who were born prematurely or with low birth weight. Studies were excluded if they were in-vitro, had no control group or when no English translation was available. Data collection The search strategy and methodology revealed a total of 197 articles, 40 duplicates were deleted, 139 rejected by title, 14 rejected by abstract, three rejected by full copy leaving only four articles to be critically appraised. Results All four studies showed no significant relationship between Pre-term Low Birth Weight (PTLBW) and caries development. Conclusions Further stratification of birth weight into Low Birth Weight (LBW) and Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) has led to some interesting findings confirming the dose-response relationship. While more research is needed, it is very difficult to carry out studies that control all the confounding factors; however, the scope of study needs to be broadened keeping in mind the dental components along with the medical and social implications of low birth weight children. MeSH terms: Infant, Premature; Infant, Low Birth Weight; Dental Caries

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Plain language summary: Babies born before completion of term of 40 weeks are called preterm children. Preterm children are fragile, undergo many medical and dental problems. This study was conducted to collect information related to tooth decay problems in the preterm children. Dental reports from medical databases were thoroughly analyzed by a team of seven dental students to interpret the results more closely. According to the studies, it was concluded that preterm children do not have increased caries occurrence when compared to children born at full term. Nevertheless, deeper research still needs to be conducted before a more definite conclusion can be made.

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Introduction Dental caries is a multi-factorial disease that can occur in any age group but preterm and low birth weight children maybe at a greater risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines "Preterm” as a birth that takes place prior to 37 weeks of gestation period and defines “Low Birth Weight” as new born babies weighing less than 2500 gm at birth. Biological events in utero...
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