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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Oct;20(10):2070-4. doi: 10.1038/oby.2012.23. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

The association between childhood obesity and tooth eruption.

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Department of Public Health & Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Obesity is a growth-promoting process as evidenced by its effect on the timing of puberty. Although studies are limited, obesity has been shown to affect the timing of tooth eruption. Both the timing and sequence of tooth eruption are important to overall oral health. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between obesity and tooth eruption. Data were combined from three consecutive cycles (2001-2006) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and analyzed to examine associations between the number of teeth erupted (NET) and obesity status (BMI z-score >95th percentile BMI relative to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth reference) among children 5 up to 14 years of age, controlling for potential confounding by age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status (SES). Obesity is significantly associated with having a higher average NET during the mixed dentition period. On average, teeth of obese children erupted earlier than nonobese children with obese children having on average 1.44 more teeth erupted than nonobese children, after adjusting for age, gender, and race/ethnicity (P < 0.0001). SES was not a confounder of the observed associations. Obese children, on average, have significantly more teeth erupted than nonobese children after adjusting for gender, age, and race. These findings may have clinical importance in the area of dental and orthodontic medicine both in terms of risk for dental caries due to extended length of time exposed in the oral cavity and sequencing which may increase the likelihood of malocclusions.

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