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Int J Paediatr Dent. 2008 May;18(3):189-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2007.00906.x. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Body adiposity status in teenagers and snacking habits in early childhood in relation to approximal caries at 15 years of age.

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Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Kärnsjukhuset, Skövde, Sweden.



The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is steadily increasing in many countries. Dental caries and obesity are both multifactorial diseases and are associated with dietary habits.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between body weight status in adolescents and snacking habits in early childhood to approximal caries prevalence at 15 years of age.


This study is part of a series of surveys of oral health in children followed from the ages of 1 year to 15 years. Body adiposity status was estimated at 13.5-16.4 years using the International Obesity Task Force cut-off values [age-specific body mass index (isoBMI)]. Information about snacking habits in early childhood was collected from interviews conducted at 1 year and 3 years. Approximal caries information was obtained from bitewing radiographs at 15 years. Data related to isoBMI and approximal caries were available in 402 teenagers.


Adolescents with isoBMI > or = 25 (n = 64) had an approximal caries prevalence that was a mean of 1.6 times higher than those with isoBMI < 25 (n = 338) (4.64 vs. 2.94; P = 0.014). Furthermore, children's snacking habits at an early age were associated with approximal caries at 15 years.


Overweight and obese adolescents had more approximal caries than normal-weight individuals. Moreover, the frequent consumption of snacking products during early childhood appears to be a risk indicator for caries at 15 years. Future preventive programmes should therefore include, on a multidisciplinary level, strategies to prevent and reduce both obesity and dental caries at an early age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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