Behavioural factors, anthropometric factors linked to dental caries: Study
Finland: Dietary habits have changed over the past decades. Snacking has replaced meals and beverages are consumed more frequently than ever. Frequent snacking and intake of sweet products are associated with overweight as well as with dental caries.
While, anthropometry refers to "the measurement of the size, weight, and proportions of the human or other primate body". Anthropometric measurements such as height and body mass index (BMI) are important indicators of children's growth and development and they are correlated with children's nutritional status. Children's overweight and obesity are common in today's industrialized world, even though the increasing trend has somewhat plateaued.
An association between childhood anthropometric measurements and dental caries is conflicting. Behavioural factors are, but anthropometric factors are not associated with dental caries, reveals a recent study by Mirja Methuen et al from the Institute of Dentistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
The study is published in the BMC Oral Health Journal.
Researchers carried out the present study to assess the prevalence and severity of dental caries and its association with anthropometric and behavioural factors among Finnish teenagers.
According to the literature, oral diseases affect approximately 47% of the world's population. About 31% had untreated caries in permanent teeth and half a billion in primary dentition.
The study sample comprised 202 15–17-year-old participants in the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study. Dental caries findings were recorded using International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS) criteria, including activity estimation; numbers of decayed teeth (DT) and decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) were recorded.
Body weight, height and waist circumference were measured and respective body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Body fat percentage was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Health-related behaviours and consumption of food and drinks were assessed using questionnaires, and intake of nutrients using a 4-day food record.
The following key findings were highlighted-
a. Mean DMFT for all the participants was 2.4 (SD = 2.9), DT 0.6 (SD = 1.3), and 36% had DMFT = 0. b. No difference between genders was observed.
c. In bivariate analyses, use of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) three times or less per week and not having used snuff associated significantly, whereas higher carbohydrate intake (E%), toothbrushing less often than twice a day and higher caries experience at baseline almost significantly with DT > 0.
d. In adjusted regression analyses, frequent use of SSB and higher carbohydrate intake increased the odds for DT > 0.
e. Additionally, higher carbohydrate intake (E%) and infrequent tooth brushing significantly associated with a higher number of DT.
Therefore, the authors concluded that "caries prevalence is still low and similar in Finnish teenage girls and boys. However, behavioural factors are, but anthropometric factors are not associated with dental caries."