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Researchers identify bacteria responsible for childhood dental disease
Updated: 3/1/2011 3:00:15 PM

The identification of a bacteria associated with childhood dental disease may help researchers find a way to limit the negative effects of the illness While dental researchers have previously thought that the pathogen Streptococcus mutans was the primary cause of dental disease in young children, a new study conducted at the Forsyth Institute has revealed that bacteria called Scardovia wiggsiae were present in the mouths of all participants who suffered from severe dental caries, even when Steptococcus mutans were not.

The scientists said they believe that their findings may offer the potential to intervene and halt the progression of disease before it can cause serious damage to the dental health of children.

Dental caries, or cavities, can be prevalent among disadvantaged socio-economic groups that lack access to dental care. However, children from all backgrounds can become susceptible to cavities if their diets consist of high amounts of sugar and if leftover food and bacteria are not cleaned from teeth through brushing or flossing.

Early childhood caries (ECC) is the most common chronic infectious disease among children in the U.S. ECC can damage primary teeth and cause painful abscesses in the gums. The disease is also one of the leading reasons for child hospital visits.

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