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Int J Paediatr Dent. 2011 May;21(3):217-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2011.01112.x. Epub 2011 Feb 20.

Childhood obesity and dental caries among paediatric dental clinic attenders.

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Department of Oral Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.



More than one-quarter of New Zealand children are overweight or obese. Research on the causes of obesity has found associations with high consumption of sweetened foods and beverages, which have also been shown to be risk factors for dental caries, but studies investigating a possible association between dental caries and obesity have had conflicting findings.


The aim of this study was to determine whether deciduous dental caries experience was associated with BMI among paediatric dental clinic attenders.


This was a cross-sectional study of clinical records of 200 children aged eight and under (70% European) treated in the University of Otago undergraduate paediatric dentistry clinic between 2004 and 2006. Height and weight were measured and used to calculate BMI. Deciduous dental caries experience was recorded.


The overall mean BMI was 16.0 (SD = 2.0). Pacific Island children had a higher mean BMI (at 17.0) than NZ European, Maori, and Asian/Other children (15.7, 16.8, and 15.9 respectively; P < 0.05). The dmft ranged from 0 to 15, with a mean of 6.1 (SD = 3.8); 24% had dmft <3, and 38% had dmft >8. No significant association was found between the BMI and caries experience (P-value = 0.932).


There was no association between BMI and dental caries experience in this convenient sample.

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