, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 141-149
Date: 29 Jan 2010

The influence of dental caries on body growth in prepubertal children

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Dental decay and dental treatment are suggested to be related to body growth in children. The aim of this study was first to assess the relation between dental caries and body proportions cross-sectionally in a Suriname caries child population and secondly to investigate whether dental treatment had a significant influence on body growth of these children in a randomised controlled trial using different treatment strategies. Three hundred eighty 6-year-old children with untreated dental decay participated in the study. Caries prevalence and presence of dentogenic infections were recorded. All children were randomly assigned to four different treatment groups ranging from full dental treatment to no invasive treatment at all. Body growth was evaluated by children’s height, weight and body mass index. Participants were evaluated after 6 months and 1, 2 and 3 years. Cross-sectionally, negative correlations were observed between anthropometric measures and the number of untreated carious surfaces and caries experience of the children. Next, no significant differences in growth pattern between the treatment groups were observed. Based on these results, it is suggested that caries activity is a negative predictor for body growth in children and dental intervention does not show significant improvement within 3 years.