Reducing the Risk

Dental caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Untreated caries can lead to local and systemic complications, such as:

  • Infections (Dental abscess, facial cellulitis, brain abscess)
  • Pain
  • Nutrition and growth changes
  • Sleep dysfunction
  • Poor self-esteem

Caregivers can decrease their own caries levels by:

  • Receiving regular comprehensive dental care, including during pregnancy
  • Limiting the frequency of sugar in the diet
  • Maintaining excellent oral hygiene
  • Using preventive agents, such as prescribed mouth rinses and Xylitol-containing gums

Facial Cellulitis



US Department of Health and Human Services. Oral health in America. A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health; 2000. 

Ramos-Gomez FJ, Weintraub JA, Ganskyet SA, et  al. Bacterial, behavioral and environmental factors associated with early childhood caries. Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry. 2002; 26(2):165-173.

Douglass JM, LI Y, Tinanoff N. Systematic review of the association between mutans streptococci in primary caregivers and mutans streptococci and dental caries in their children. Pediatric Dentistry 2008, 30(5):375-387.

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Guideline on Perinatal Oral Health Care. Revised 2011. 33(6): 118-123.