Impact of Childhood Obesity on Oral Health
thesisposted on 2012-12-13, 00:00 authored by Lynse J. Briney
Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States and worldwide. Both obesity and poor oral health may increase a person’s risk for systemic disease and poor dietary habits may be one of the factors linking both multifactorial conditions together. Studies have investigated the association between obesity and dental caries, the results have been contradictory. This cross-sectional pilot study in children aged 8-12 tests the hypothesis that obese children have poorer oral health compared to healthy-weight children. To measure oral health, decayed and filled teeth (dft+DFT) scores, gingival index and plaque index was examined in 20 obese and 20 healthy-weight children. It represents part of a larger cross-sectional study that compared the oral health conditions, salivary characteristics, and dietary habits between obese and healthy weight 8-12 years old children. The results of the oral examination found no differences in caries experience, plaque or gingival scores between the two groups. However, BMI was inversely correlated with caries experience. Among the children recruited outside of the UIC dental school, the obese children had significantly lower caries experience. The larger study examining the dietary habits and properties of saliva could find additional differences between the groups and offer some insights as to why this inverse relationship may exist.