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J Public Health Dent. 2008 Fall;68(4):227-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2008.00083.x.

Obesity and dental caries in children aged 2-6 years in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002.

Author information

1
Department of Dental Public Health and Behavioral Science, School of Dentistry, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA. hongli@umkc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study assessed the associations between obesity and dental caries in young children participating in a national survey.

METHODS:

Participants included 1507 children aged 2-6 years who received dental examinations and had at least 10 primary teeth in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002. Decayed/filled teeth (dft) counts of primary dentition were obtained, and weight and height were measured. Body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) was calculated, and participants were categorized using age- and gender-specific criteria as underweight (<5th percent), normal (5th-85th percent), at risk for overweight (>85th and <95th percent), and overweight (> or =95th percent). With appropriate sample weighting, relationships between dft and BMI were assessed using the Kruskal-Wallis test and multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS:

Seventy-four percent of children were classified as normal weight, 11 percent as at risk for overweight, and 11 percent as overweight; 58 percent did not have caries; 30 percent had 1-5 dft and 12 percent had >5 dft. When caries experience was compared across BMI categories stratified by age and race characteristics, statistically significant association between caries and obesity was found only for 60- <72-month age group. In the comparison between children with normal and at-risk BMI only, significant associations were also found in the Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black strata. In multivariable logistic regression models to predict caries experience, family income and age were statistically significant predictors for severe early childhood caries only.

CONCLUSIONS:

There appears to be no significant association between childhood obesity and caries experience after controlling forage, race, and poverty/income ratio. However, further studies are needed to better understand this relationship.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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