Oral Health and Childhood Obesity

A study by Modéer, et al published in the journal Obesity tested the hypothesis that childhood obesity is associated with reduced flow rate of stimulated whole saliva and dental caries. In a cross-sectional design, 2 groups of adolescents were studied: (1) 65 obese adolescents with a mean age of 14.5 years and (2) 65 normal weight adolescents with a mean age of 14.2 years. The subjects were clinically examined for dental car­ies, visible plaque accumulation, and gingival inflammation in terms of bleeding on probing. In addition, a questionnaire elicited in­formation concerning medical history, medication, oral hygiene ha­bits, smoking habits, and sociodemographic background. The flow rate of stimulated whole saliva (ml/min) was also determined, and body mass index was calculated and adjusted for age and gender. The study found that the obese subjects exhibited a higher number of decayed surfaces and lower flow rate of stimulated whole saliva, and these associations were not confounded by any of the studied variables. The results indicate that childhood obesity is associated with reduced flow rate of stimulated whole saliva and dental caries, and further strengthens obesity’s negative effect on children’s oral health.
(Source: Obesity, published online March 25, 2010. Available at nature.com/oby/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/oby201063a.html
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