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Pediatr Obes. 2012 Dec;7(6):461-70. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00072.x. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

The relationship between childhood weight, dental caries and eating practices in children aged 4-8 years in Australia, 2004-2008.

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School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.



The association between overweight/obesity and dental caries in children is contentious with studies variously reporting positive or negative associations between the two conditions. Since 1995, Australia has experienced a rise in the prevalence of both conditions in its children. This study investigated the association between child weight, diet and dental problems in a nationally representative sample.


Data from 4149 children (51.5% male) participating in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were used. The LSAC is a longitudinal study collecting data from a large representative cohort of Australian children; data from the first three waves were included with children aged 4-5 years, 6-7 years, and 8-9 years. Multivariate cross-sectional and prospective analyses were conducted to determine the relationships between child weight, diet and dental problems.


Overweight/obesity was associated with sweet drink consumption and dental problems associated with consumption of fatty foods and sweet drinks. Underweight was associated with dental problems cross-sectionally, but both underweight and overweight at age 6-7 years predicted dental problems at age 8-9 years.


Dental caries and body weight are influenced by diet. Overweight children may be consuming less fatty food but appear to be consuming more sweet drinks than normal-weight children, which can lead to both increased weight and dental caries. Dietary interventions designed to reduce the development of dental caries may also reduce the development and maintenance of overweight.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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