The association between dental caries, education and body mass index in a population of Romanian schoolchildren

Authors: Cosmin Tudoroniu, Bogdana Adriana Năsui, Monica Popa

Affiliation

“Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Abstract

Background. Obesity and caries are common conditions in childhood and can have significant implications in children’s wellbeing. Evidence into their association remains conflicting.

Aims. The aim of this study was to assess dental caries prevalence in relation with the body mass index and dental health behaviors in a population of schoolchildren.

Methods. We used a cross-sectional study among 650 schoolchildren from Cluj-Napoca, with the mean age 15.39 ± 3.2 years. Weight and height were self-reported in the questionnaire (converted to Body Mass Index centiles, according to WHO growth charts). Caries were assessed by using the sum of the number of teeth that were decayed, missing or filled (DMFT index). A questionnaire was used to obtain information about sociodemographic characteristics of the children, oral hygiene and dietary habits. Data were analyzed by using StatsDirect v.2.7.2, T test and Mann Whitney test to compare variables. The results with p<0.05 were considered significant.

Results. The dmft/DMFT index was higher in rural than in urban areas (3.16±1.93 vs. 3.09±2.26, p>0.05). Parents of children from urban areas had a higher education than parents from rural areas (p<0.0001). The mean BMI was higher in children from rural areas than those from urban areas (p=0.03).  Our results indicated that the dmft/DMFT index was not affected by the BMI index, at this age (p>0.05).

Conclusions. Our study highlights the need for education of schoolchildren regarding oral health, diet and lifestyle, including changes in physical activity and food quality to prevent obesity and dental caries, both in children and later in adulthood.

Key words:  caries, body mass index, oral health habits.

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The association between dental caries, education and body mass index in a population of Romanian schoolchildren

https://doi.org/10.26659/pm3.2019.20.1.5