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Eur J Med Res. 2004 Aug 31;9(8):400-4.

Relationship between high weight and caries frequency in German elementary school children.

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Department for Operative Dentistry, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Augustusplatz 2, D-55131 Mainz, Germany. willersh@mail.



Most industrialized countries experienced a change in dietary habits within the last 10 years. Growing obesity may result in an increased incidence of metabolic diseases as well as in a higher caries frequency.


In an interdisciplinary study, 842 elementary school children (414 girls and 428 boys, age: 6-11 years; elementary grades 1-4) we examined. The dental examination included the determination of caries frequency (DF-T-/ df-t-values) and the medical evaluation assessed the pupils general health (i.e. the height and body weight; body mass index).


The study showed that 33.7% of all school children had no decayed or filled teeth (38% of the girls, 30% of the boys). 73.9% of all pupils were within the normal weight range (74.3% of the boys, 73.4% of the girls), 12.9% of the children were overweight (12.4% of the boys, 13.5% of the girls), and 13.2% were even obese (13.3% of the boys, 13% of the girls). 35.5% of the pupils with normal weight had healthy teeth, whereas the number dropped to 27.5% in children that were overweight, and to 29.7% in the obese children. The caries prevalence (DF-T-, df-t-values) also showed a significant association to weight (Fisher-Test, p = 0.022 for df-t-distribution and p = 0.011 for DF-T-distributions). Children with normal weight were found to have average df-t-values of 2.09 (DF-T: 0.57), overweight children an average df-t-value of 2.48 (DF-T-value: 0.91), and obese children showed 3.3 (DF-T.value:0.88).


Since this study showed an association between an increase of dental caries and high weight in elementary school children, the importance of nutrition with respect to high weight should be considered in future preventive programs, in addition to oral hygiene measures.

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