Severe dental caries is associated with incidence of thinness and overweight among preschool Chinese children

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Objective: To examine the association of incidence and baseline prevalence of severe dental caries with incidences of thinness and overweight among pre-school Chinese children. Materials and methods: A longitudinal study design was used. A total of 772 children recruited from 15 kindergartens in Liaoning Province who completed baseline and follow-up assessments were included. The age range of children at baseline was 24.6-71.1 months. BMI-for-age z-score was calculated to estimate incidence of thinness and overweight. Severe dental caries was indicated by pulpal involvement, ulceration, fistula or abscess (pufa). Baseline prevalence of severe caries included children with pufa ≥1, incidence included those who changed from pufa = 0 to ≥1 at follow-up. Logistic regression was constructed to assess the association of baseline prevalence and incidence of severe caries with each of incidence thinness and overweight. Results: Children with incidence of severe caries had higher odds for incidence thinness (OR: 4.08; 95% CI: 1.08, 15.41). Baseline prevalence of severe caries was not significantly associated with incidence thinness. Participants with severe caries at baseline had higher odds for incidence overweight (OR: 2.33; 95% CI: 1.17, 4.63). The relationship between incidence of severe caries and incidence overweight was insignificant. Conclusions: The findings suggest a U-shaped relationship between severe dental caries and both ends of anthropometric measures among pre-school Chinese children. The findings highlight the importance of integrating oral and general health promotion policies. Primary health care providers are encouraged to incorporate dental screening, counselling and referral for treatment for severe caries to promote appropriate growth and overall health of children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalActa Odontologica Scandinavica
Early online date24 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2019


  • Body mass index
  • child
  • dental caries
  • overweight
  • thinness


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