Page W. Caufield, Professor of Cariology and Operative Dentistry
and Head of the Division of Diagnostics, Infectious Disease and
Health Promotion, has received a grant in excess of $1 million from
the NIH/NIDCR to develop a genetic profile of the oral bacteria
in young children with severe caries. Dr. Caufield predicts that
the bacteria will yield DNA markers that could be used to identify
children at risk for severe tooth decay.
He plans to
compare his findings with a DNA analysis of bacteria from each child’s
mother. In earlier research, Dr. Caufield was the first to demonstrate
that mutans streptococci—one form of bacteria responsible
for dental caries—are transmitted from mother to infant during
intimate contact when the infant is around 26 months of age. Dr.
Caufield’s three-year study at Bellevue Hospital Center in
New York City will focus on children three to five years old receiving
treatment for severe caries.