Parent-child interaction and stimulation in early life can be related to caries in primary dentition? Hypotheses from a life-course approach

Francine Dos Santos Costa, Bernardo Antonio Agostini, Helena Silveira Schuch, Marcos Britto Correa, Marília Leão Goettems, Flávio Fernando Demarco
Medical Hypotheses 2019, 130: 109291
Dental caries has common risk factors with impairments in growth, cognitive development and child general health. Identifying socioeconomic contexts and parental behaviors in early life that may be associated with negative outcomes in the child's future and their causal mechanisms can contribute to planning early interventions. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to propose and discuss possible ways to explain how early childhood stimulation may be associated with future oral health status, based on the life-course theory of chain-of-risk model and accumulation of risk model. Two hypotheses were suggested: (1) each social exposure or parental behavior in the child's first years of life increase the risk of chronic diseases, such as dental caries in primary dentition, in a simply additive effect; (2) parental factors could negatively influence the establishment of the pattern of child stimulation (child care) or lead to a modification of the established behavior on the risk of dental caries in the child primary dentition. Prevention of dental caries seems to be the most feasible way of solving this serious public health problem. It therefore justifies the importance of identifying exposures in the child's early life that may lead to the occurrence of chronic diseases in the future. The evidence seem to converge to the idea that child stimulation in early life may be associated with future health problems related to behaviors and care by parents, including caries.


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