Association between body mass index and dental health in 1,290 children of elementary schools in a German city
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between caries frequency and body mass index (BMI) in German elementary school children. A total of 1,290 elementary school children (648 boys, 642 girls) were examined. The dental examination included the determination of caries frequency (DF-T/df-t values). The medical evaluation assessed the pupils’ general health and BMI. The study showed that 3.6% of the children were underweight, 74.8% had a normal weight, 11.9% were overweight, and 9.7% were obese. Underweight children showed natural healthy teeth in 44.7%, those with normal weight in 40.7%, whereas children with high weight and obese children showed natural healthy teeth in 30.5% and 31.7%, respectively. A significant association between high weight and caries frequency in the first dentition (p = 0.0067) and in the permanent dentition (p = 0.0002) could be observed. The association remains statistically significant after adjusting for age. The number of natural healthy teeth decreased with age (p = 0.001) and BMI (p = 0.0061) and was different between girls and boys (p = 0.0334). This study demonstrated a significant association between caries frequency and weight in school children. In future preventive programs, the importance of nutrition should not only be emphasized with respect to general diseases but also with regard to carious lesions.