Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2014

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Dental Public Health

First Advisor

Warren, John J

First Committee Member

Qian, Fang

Second Committee Member

Weber-Gasparoni, Karin

Third Committee Member

Marshall, Teresa

Fourth Committee Member

Drake, David


OBJECTIVE: The objective was to assess the role of socio-demographic, dietary, behavioral, and environmental factors in Mutans Streptococci (MS) colonization in young children from low socio-income families.

METHODS: This study involves secondary analyses of data collected from 6 to 24 months old children (N=129) enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Program at WIC, Iowa. They were followed for 18 months assessing different socio-demographic, dietary, behavioral, and environmental factors at 5 time-points. Total 3 clinical examinations were conducted at baseline, 9 months, and 18 months. Salivary samples collected during the examinations by semi-quantitative method, serve to determine the subjects' MS levels, who were grouped into either 1) No MS at any time during the study (n=58); 2) MS at baseline (n=35); or 3) Acquired MS during the study period (n=36). Prediction of the group membership (1or3) over the three time points is used as outcome for this study. This paper reports important findings from pairwise comparison of the three groups at baseline, 9 months and 18 months.

RESULTS: Consumption of sugar-rich beverages and tooth-related factors like plaque and number of teeth were significantly (p<0.05) higher in Group 2 children, than the others at baseline. Group 2 also had the oldest children (mean age at baseline - 16.7 months) than Group 1 (10.8 months) and Group 3 (12.6 months). The effect of age was reflected in longitudinal comparison of group1 and 3 as well. Different behavioral and dietary factors were significant at different time-points, specific to that age-group under observation. Higher maternal education was found to be a protective factor, whereas tooth-related factors such as, history of caries and number of teeth, were risk factor in longitudinal analyses.

CONCLUSION: Time measured as age of the child is the key factor in MS infection in youg children. Dietary, behavioral, environmental, and tooth related factors acquire importance depending on age of the child. Future longitudinal analyses will further explore these relationships.


Age, Behavior, Children, Diet, Environment, Mutans Streptococci


xi, 194 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 178-188).


Copyright 2014 Tejasi Satish Avasare