- Body mass index and dental caries in children aged 5 to 8 years attending a dental paediatric referral practice in the Netherlands
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- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Obesity and dental caries are widely-recognised problems that affect general health. The prevention of both dental caries and obesity have proven very difficult: children and their parents may need professional support to achieve behaviour change. To find out whether both dental caries and overweight in childhood can be targeted using a common risk factor approach, it is necessary to establish whether the two diseases are indeed linked. The aim of the present study was therefore to use anthropometric data obtained professionally to investigate the association between Body Mass Index and dental caries experience in children aged 5-8 years receiving treatment in a referral centre for paediatric dental care in the Netherlands.
Children’s dmft and dmfs scores were calculated using dental records and sociodemographic data were also extracted from these records. Dentists were trained to measure standing height and weight in a standardised way. Body Mass Index was calculated by dividing kilograms by height squared (kg/m2). Extended International (International Obesity Task Force) body mass index cut-offs were used to define ‘no overweight’ and ‘overweight’ (with the latter category including obesity).
No statistically significant differences were found between the mean dmft or dmfs scores of the two groups (overweight and non-overweight), even after correction for the effect of the potential confounders sex, socio-economic status and ethnicity. The percentage of caries-active children in the non-overweight group was almost the same as in the overweight group. No statistically significant differences were found.
We hypothesised to find a positive association between body mass index and dental caries experience in children aged 5-8 years attending our practice. However, this study did not find a relationship of this kind. A common risk factor approach for the prevention of caries and overweight is therefore not supported by our study.
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