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Ann Hum Biol. 2011 Jan;38(1):84-92. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2010.497499. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

Effect of under-nutrition on permanent tooth emergence among Rajputs of Himachal Pradesh, India.

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Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.



The sequence and emergence of permanent teeth are considered to be largely under genetic control. However, some environmental factors have also been reported to influence tooth emergence.


To investigate the effect of under-nutrition on the emergence of permanent teeth in a sample of Rajput children from part of Solan District in Himachal Pradesh State of India.


This study is based on a cross-sectional sample of 509 school-going boys and girls ranging in age from 5-14 years. The emergence of the first 28 teeth was investigated. The nutritional status of each subject was evaluated using stature and weight expressed as SD scores of weight-for-age, stature-for-age and weight-for-stature of the NCHS reference data.


Mandibular teeth tended to emerge earlier than the maxillary teeth in both sexes and, except pre-molars, emergence was earlier in girls. Simple correlation between number of emerged teeth and stature (0.871 in girls, 0.855 in boys) and weight (0.814 in girls, 0.791 in boys) was significant (p ≤ 0.05), but on partialling out the effect of age, values of partial correlation were low and not significant. Under-nourished children of both sexes (those with SD scores of - 2 SD or less) had fewer erupted teeth compared to normal children (with SD scores of - 1 SD and over), according to weight-for-age as well as stature-for-age. However, the differences were less marked in older age groups, that is those above 11 years. When the number of emerged teeth was analysed according to weight-for-stature there was no clear difference in the number of emerged teeth between under-nourished (wasted) and normal children.


Past long-term and chronic under-nutrition may result in delayed emergence of permanent teeth, particularly in younger age groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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