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Adv Nutr. 2015 Jan 15;6(1):52-63. doi: 10.3945/an.114.006395. Print 2015 Jan.

Anthropometric measurements and dental caries in children: a systematic review of longitudinal studies.

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Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics and.
Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics and
Periodontology and Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


There is growing interest in the association between anthropometric measurements and dental caries in childhood over time (life-course studies). The aim of this review was to identify and systematically review the evidence of the association between anthropometric measurements and dental caries in childhood over time. PubMed, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge, the Cochrane Library, and 6 other databases were searched to identify effective articles. A systematic approach involving critical appraisal was conducted to examine the relation between anthropometric measurements and dental caries in preschool- and school-aged populations from longitudinal studies. An initial search identified 1338 studies, with 59 potentially effective studies (κ = 0.82) and 17 effective studies (κ = 0.88). The quality of reporting among the studies ranged from 19.5 to 30.0 according to the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) criteria. Among the effective studies, 2 studies in which caries was used to predict anthropometric measurements consistently found an inverse association and 15 studies in which anthropometric measurements were used to predict caries were inconsistent, with results appearing to be influenced by nonuniformity of assessments, setting, and procedure of measurements; age and ethnicity of participants; and confounders of dental caries. In conclusion, among >1000 studies identified, 17 informed this systematic review. The quality of reporting of these studies varied considerably. Evidence of the association between anthropometric measurements and dental caries is conflicting and remains inconclusive.


anthropometric measurements; children; dental caries; longitudinal studies; systematic review

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