Protocol for assessing maternal, environmental and epigenetic risk factors for dental caries in children

Fernando, Surani, Speicher, David J., Bakr, Mahmoud M., Benton, Miles C., Lea, Rodney A., Scuffham, Paul A., Mihala, Gabor, & Johnson, Newell W. (2015) Protocol for assessing maternal, environmental and epigenetic risk factors for dental caries in children. BMC Oral Health, 15, Article Number-167.

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Expenditure on dental and oral health services in Australia is $3.4 billion AUD annually. This is the sixth highest health cost and accounts for 7 % of total national health expenditure. Approximately 49 % of Australian children aged 6 years have caries experience in their deciduous teeth and this is rising. The aetiology of dental caries involves a complex interplay of individual, behavioural, social, economic, political and environmental conditions, and there is increasing interest in genetic predisposition and epigenetic modification.


The Oral Health Sub-study; a cross sectional study of a birth cohort began in November 2012 by examining mothers and their children who were six years old by the time of initiation of the study, which is ongoing. Data from detailed questionnaires of families from birth onwards and data on mothers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices towards oral health collected at the time of clinical examination are used. Subjects’ height, weight and mid-waist circumference are taken and Body Mass Index (BMI) computed, using an electronic Bio-Impedance balance. Dental caries experience is scored using the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS). Saliva is collected for physiological measures. Salivary Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) is extracted for genetic studies including epigenetics using the SeqCap Epi Enrichment Kit. Targets of interest are being confirmed by pyrosequencing to identify potential epigenetic markers of caries risk.


This study will examine a wide range of potential determinants for childhood dental caries and evaluate inter-relationships amongst them. The findings will provide an evidence base to plan and implement improved preventive strategies.

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ID Code: 94564
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: dental caries, epigenetics, protocol
DOI: 10.1186/s12903-015-0143-2
ISSN: 1472-6831
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: 2016 Fernando et al.
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Deposited On: 07 Apr 2016 00:54
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016 22:50

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