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Obesity and tooth wear among American adults: the role of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Early online date28 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2019


King's Authors


BACKGROUND: To explore the association between obesity and tooth wear among American adults and the role of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks consumption in explaining that association.

METHODS: We analyzed data from 3541 adult participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Obesity was determined using the body mass index and tooth wear was assessed using the modified tooth wear index. Daily intake of four categories of drinks was estimated as the average (drinks/day) of two consecutive 24-h dietary recalls. The association between obesity and number of surfaces with moderate-to-severe tooth wear was assessed in hurdle models adjusting for sociodemographic factors, acid reflux medication, and dental insurance.

RESULTS: Overweight and obese adults had more surfaces with moderate-to-severe tooth wear than those with normal body size, after adjusting for confounders. The consumption of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks explained part, but not all the above association. More specifically, the estimate for obesity was fully attenuated, whereas the estimate for overweight was slightly attenuated but remained significant.

CONCLUSION: Obesity was positively associated with tooth wear in American adults. This association was only partially accounted for by the consumption of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks, a common risk factor for both conditions.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Dentists must be aware of the health consequences of sugar-sweetened acidic drinks and advocate for reduction in consumption and/or substitution with healthier alternatives.

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