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NY Times/Chicago Tribune: Low Vitamin D in Mothers Tied to Cavities in Babies

April 24, 2014 — 

The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, among others, reported on the findings Robert Schroth, associate professor in the Faculty of Dentistry, recently publish in the journal Pediatrics.

As the New York Times summarizes:

Low levels of vitamin D in pregnancy are associated with the development of cavities in babies, researchers report.

The scientists studied 134 expectant mothers, average age 19. Each provided information on health behavior and socioeconomic status and gave blood samples to measure vitamin D levels.

Their children had dental examinations when they were an average of 1 year old, and their mothers completed another questionnaire on breast-feeding, introduction of solids and other health and behavioral factors.

About a third of the women were deficient in vitamin D, 22 percent of the infants had deficient or thinning enamel and 23 percent had cavities.

After controlling for other factors, they found that the lower the prenatal vitamin D level in the mother, the higher the number of cavities in the child. Defective enamel and prenatal vitamin D levels were both independent predictors of cavities.

The authors acknowledge that the study, published in Pediatrics, has shortcomings. It was not a randomized trial, the population was economically disadvantaged, and they could not control for all factors potentially associated with tooth decay.

“The association is not overly strong,” said the senior author, Robert J. Schroth, an associate professor at the University of Manitoba. “But this may be the first step in prevention — making sure that prenatal nutrition and vitamin D levels are right.”



Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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