Overweight Kids Have Fewer Cavities, New Study Shows

Contrary to conventional wisdom, overweight children have fewer cavities and healthier teeth compared to their normal weight peers, according to a study published in this month’s issue of Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology.

Surprised researchers at the Eastman Dental Center, part of the University of Rochester Medical Center, conducted a secondary analysis of nearly 18,000 children who participated in two separate National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES III and NHANES 99-02).

The study found no differences in rates of caries (tooth decay) among children ages 2-5 in all weight ranges, while children ages 6-18 who were considered overweight and at risk for becoming overweight showed a decreased risk of caries compared to their normal weight peers.

“We expected to find more oral disease in overweight children of all ages, given the similar causal factors that are generally associated with obesity and caries, said Eastman Dental Center’s Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, DDS, MPH, the lead author. “Our findings raise more questions than answers. For example, are overweight children eating foods higher in fat rather than cavity-causing sugars? Are their diets similar to normal weight peers but lead more sedentary lifestyles? Research to analyze both diet and lifestyle is needed to better understand the results.”

The study defined overweight children as being at the 95th or higher percentile for their age and sex; children at the 85th or higher percentile and less than 95th percentile for their age and sex were defined as at risk for becoming overweight.

See also:
ScienceDaily April 3, 2008

This entry was posted in Clinical, Eastman Dental Center, Faculty, Research. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Overweight Kids Have Fewer Cavities, New Study Shows

  1. wisdom says:

    That is bizarre. I would argue that lifestyle determines if you are fat or not in addition to what you eat. Perhaps there are certain controls that are not being accounted for though.

  2. Tom Ndanu says:

    This is not surprizing to us in the field of nutrition. Caries experience is more of a function of oral hygiene than the amount of caries one consumes. With increasing awareness or oral cleanliness this findings could be expected in developed nations where intake is more towards high fat and calorie diets.

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