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Differences in Sweet Taste Perception and Its Association with the Streptococcus mutans Cariogenic Profile in Preschool Children with Caries

Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Institute of Dentistry, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Montelupich 4, 31-155 Cracow, Poland
Department of Mycology, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Czysta St 18, 31-121 Cracow, Poland
Department of Nutrition and Drug Research, Faculty of Health Science, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Grzegórzecka St 20, 31-531 Cracow, Poland
Department of Radiology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kopernika 19, 31-501 Cracow, Poland
Department of Medical Diagnostics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Medyczna 9, 30-688 Cracow, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2592;
Received: 30 July 2020 / Revised: 14 August 2020 / Accepted: 24 August 2020 / Published: 26 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition, Education and Dietetics)
The aim of the study was to verify the hypothesis about differences in sweet taste perception in the group of preschool children with and without caries, and to determine its relationship with cariogenic microbiota and the frequency of sweets consumption in children. The study group included of 63 children aged 2–6 years: 32 with caries and 31 without caries. The study consisted of collecting questionnaire data and assessment of dental status using the decayed, missing, filled in primary teeth index (dmft) and the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS II). The evaluation of sweet taste perception was carried out using a specific method that simultaneously assessed the level of taste preferences and the sensitivity threshold for a given taste. The microbiological analysis consisted of the assessment of the quantitative and qualitative compositions of the oral microbiota of the examined children. The sweet taste perception of children with caries was characterized by a lower susceptibility to sucrose (the preferred sucrose solution concentration was >4 g/L) compared to children without caries (in the range ≤ 4 g/L, p = 0.0015, chi-square test). A similar relationship was also observed for frequent snacking between meals (p = 0.0038, chi-square test). The analysis of studied variables showed the existence of a strong positive correlation between the perception of sweet taste and the occurrence and intensity of the cariogenic process (p = 0.007 for dmft; and p = 0.012 for ICDAS II), as well as the frequency of consuming sweets (p ≤ 0.001 for frequent and repeated consumption of sweets during the day, Spearman test) in children with caries. Additionally, children with an elevated sucrose taste threshold were more than 10-times more likely to develop S. mutans presence (OR = 10.21; 95% CI 3.11–33.44). The results of this study suggest the future use of taste preferences in children as a diagnostic tool for the early detection of increased susceptibility to caries through microbial dysbiosis towards specific species of microorganisms. View Full-Text
Keywords: Taste preferences; eating habits; microbial dysbiosis; early childhood caries (ECC) Taste preferences; eating habits; microbial dysbiosis; early childhood caries (ECC)
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Jurczak, A.; Jamka-Kasprzyk, M.; Bębenek, Z.; Staszczyk, M.; Jagielski, P.; Kościelniak, D.; Gregorczyk-Maga, I.; Kołodziej, I.; Kępisty, M.; Kukurba-Setkowicz, M.; Bryll, A.; Krzyściak, W. Differences in Sweet Taste Perception and Its Association with the Streptococcus mutans Cariogenic Profile in Preschool Children with Caries. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2592.

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