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Kids with cavities more likely to be overweight

A study says that children between the ages of 2-5 with decayed ?baby teeth? are likely to be overweight.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 15:05 IST

A new study has found that children between the ages of 2-5 with decayed ‘baby teeth’ were more likely to be overweight or at a risk of being overweight and not underweight.

As a part of the study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Hiran Perinpanayagam, D.D.S., Ph.D., an endodontist and assistant professor at the University of Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine, a total of 407 records of children with cavities were reviewed 170 from 2000 and 237 from 2005 as well as records of 79 children seen in May 2005 who were cavity free.

Hiran Perinpanayagam said that the research found that while prior studies had found that children with rampant tooth decay were more likely to be underweight, the new study had shown the contrary to be true.

“Prior studies in the 1990s found that children with rampant tooth decay appeared to be underweight, and this was attributed to a failure to thrive. In contrast, a more recent study found that the children with tooth decay did not have reduced bodyweight. Given these conflicting results, we thought a more definitive study was needed,” he said.

Dr Perinpanayagam said that the study was significant because it shows that there may be a connection bet between a poor diet that causes tooth decay and one that leads to childhood overweight and obesity.

“The significance of these findings is that there may be a connection between a poor diet that causes tooth decay and one that leads to childhood overweight and obesity. Our next step will be to see if those children that improve their diet to stop a recurrence of cavities also are able to maintain healthy bodyweight,” he said.

The results of the study showed that very few of the children with cavities were underweight: 8.2 percent and 7.2 percent in 2000 and 2005 respectively, while in contrast, 16.5 percent were at risk of being overweight and 10.6 percent were overweight in 2000.

In 2005, 10.5 percent of the children with cavities were nearly overweight and 15.6 percent were already overweight.