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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2016 Aug;150(2):268-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2015.12.031.

Relationship between body mass and dental and skeletal development in children and adolescents.

Author information

Private practice, Elizabethtown, Ky.
Professor, Department of Orthodontics, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Mo.
Associate professor, Department of Orthodontics, St Louis University, Saint Louis, Mo. Electronic address:



The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether a relationship exists between body mass and dental and skeletal development in children and adolescents. A sample of 197 orthodontic patients (82 boys, 115 girls) was selected. Ethnicity was recorded, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated according to the standard equation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and then a BMI percentile according to sex and age was obtained. The panoramic radiographs were used to calculate the dental ages with an index. The chronologic ages were subtracted from the calculated dental ages to determine a "dental age difference" for each subject. The lateral cephalogram radiographs were analyzed for skeletal development using the cervical vertebral maturation stage method.


The white population (60%) had an average BMI percentile of 53.6 and was statistically different from the Hispanic/black population (40%), which had an average percentile of 64.3. There were no significant differences for boys and girls for the BMI percentile and dental age difference, or for the BMI percentile and cervical vertebral stages. The multiple regression model showed that BMI percentile and ethnicity were statistically significant explanatory variables for the dental age difference.


A relationship exists between body mass and dental and skeletal development. BMI percentile, dental age difference, and cervical vertebral stage are weakly correlated. No significant differences existed between boys and girls in any variables. BMI percentile and ethnicity are weak predictors of the discrepancy between dental age and chronologic age.

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