Smiles For Tomorrow
Biological Factors

Course Author(s): American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Chicago, IL

Biological Factors

1. Family History

A family history of dental caries increases a child’s risk for decay.The caries history of the mother or the primary caregiver should becarefully evaluated to determine if the child has an increased risk.The caregiver’s knowledge of dental health and attitude toward dentalcare should also be assessed. Children from lower socioeconomicfamilies have a higher risk for developing dental caries. In addition,children with immigrant backgrounds have 3 times higher caries ratesthan non-immigrants.

2. Dietary Habits

Types, consistency,and frequency of solid and liquid food intake should be evaluated forcariogenic (causing caries) potential. On-demand bottle feedingwith a fermentable carbohydrate, on-demand breast-feeding and frequentconsumption of non-mealtime snacks daily increase the caries risk byincreasing the amount of time oral acid is formed and therefore increasingthe chance for enamel demineralization.

Allowing a child to fall asleep with a bottle containing naturalor added sugar increases a child’s risk for developing early childhoodcaries.
Sleeptime Habits

Sleeptime Habits
3. Medical History

An accurateand up-to-date medical history is essential for caries risk assessment.Children with special health care needs are at increased risk for oraldiseases including caries. Those with mental, developmental, orphysical disabilities who do not have the ability to understand andassume responsibility for or cooperate with preventive oral health practicesare especially susceptible. Children with compromised immunityor cardiac conditions associated with endocarditis may be especiallyvulnerable to the effects of oral diseases.

Pediatric medications may contain sucrose and children who regularlytake such medications for chronic conditions need to be on a more intensiveprevention program. Children undergoing radiation therapy mayhave reduced salivary flow which warrants the highest attention towardpreventing caries.