Parental influences on adolescents' oral health behaviour: two-year follow-up of the Norwegian Longitudinal Health Behaviour Study participants

Åstrøm AN Eur J Oral Sci 1998; 106: 922–930

Mothers' oral hygiene performance and both parents' smoking behaviour appeared to have a significant effect on this teenage cohort group.

Despite the effect of peer pressure in the teens, the family is still an important factor in establishing adolescent behaviour patterns. In this study, 709 16-year-olds out of a random sample of 1195, and their parents, completed questionnaires at home. Two years later, further questionnaires were sent to the whole sample, including parents. Subjects who replied on both occasions were included in the present study: 597 pupils, 460 mothers, and 399 fathers.

The questions asked were about oral hygiene behaviour, smoking, parental support and parental control.

Mothers' oral hygiene behaviour, but not that of fathers, was related to subsequent adolescent behaviour, and mothers' sugar intake appeared related to the subsequent behaviour of girls, but not boys. Fathers' smoking behaviour, and also mothers', appeared related to the subsequent behaviour of boys, but not girls.

Colonisation with mutans streptococci and lactobacilli and the caries experience of children after the age of five

Straetemans MME, van Loveren C et al. J Dent Res 1998; 77: 1851–1855

The age of acquisition of mutans streptococci (MS: S. mutans and S. sobrinus ) may be related to later caries experience.

Of 196 children aged 2-5 years in a previous longitudinal study of caries-related bacteria,109 took part in a further study. In 58, MS had been virtually absent, and in 51, MS had been regularly present. Of 30 who were MS-negative at age 5, 8 were still so at age 11. All their mothers and 25 examined fathers were MS-positive. Of 13 children who were MS-positive between 2 and 5 years of age, all remained so at age 11. However, in 2 of their mothers, MS were not detected. All their fathers were MS-positive.

The median count of MS in children in whom it had been found at age 5 was more than 40 times as high at age 11 as in those in whom it had not been present. Significantly fewer sugar intakes occurred at age 2 in those who had no MS before age 5 (29 intakes per week, compared with 36).

A 2-year follow-up of mandibular posture following an increase on occlusal vertical dimension beyond the clinical rest position with fixed restorations

Ormanier Z & Gross M J Oral Rehabil 1998; 25: 877–883

This study suggests that it is possible to adapt the neuromusculature to a vertical dimension in excess of that defined by the mandibular rest position.

As the authors state, mandibular posture defies clear definition. Eight subjects with a mean age of 38 were restored with full arch fixed appliances to increase the inter-incisal vertical dimension by 3.5 to 4 mm, following 1 month of provisional appliance therapy at the same vertical dimension. The control group consisted of 8 healthy dental students with intact, stable dentitions. Neither group had any TMJ disorders.

The authors define 'clinical rest position' (CRP) as many authors have done before them, and 'relaxed rest position' (RRP) as another repeatable posture where the jaw hangs loose when the patient is seated upright. In the test group, CRP and RRP were significantly different, and both increased by 1 month, remaining the same to 2 years. At 1 year, there was no change in masseteric electromyographic activity compared with baseline. The control group showed no change in any measurement. The authors consider the RRP is equivalent to the physiological rest position, and this, by inference, may be changed.

A one-year follow-up of an oral health care programme for residents with severe behavioural disorders at special nursing homes in Denmark

Vigild M, Brinck JJ et al. Community Dent Health 1998; 15: 88–92

In a severely handicapped group of subjects, a special programme was able to improve oral conditions.

Following an oral health survey in a Danish county, provision was made for all nursing home residents to receive dental care, either in a private practice or in the county dental clinic. The baseline population was 407, but at follow-up 1 year later, 103 had died, 14 had moved, and 26 others were not participating.

Over the year, all but one subject received dental services, and 226 took part in a regular hygiene programme. Eight subjects became edentulous. Periodontal treatment need decreased from a mean of 5 to 3.3 teeth, caries treatment need from 45 to 36 subjects, and there were marked reductions in plaque, calculus, denture stomatitis, traumatic ulcers and the need for prosthodontic treatment. At the follow-up interview more subjects stated a preference for treatment at the nursing home than did so at baseline.