Purpose: To investigate the association between dental caries, obesity and socioeconomic status (SES) in 6-and 13-yearold school children in Davangere city, Karnataka, India.
Materials and Methods: Data were obtained from a cohort of 1,550 children. Dental caries detection was performed according to the World Health Organization criteria and the medical evaluation assessed the body mass index (BMI). With appropriate sample weighting, relationships between dmft/DMFT, obesity and socioeconomic status were assessed using the Kruskal-Wallis H test and multivariate logistic regression.
Results: The prevalence of dental caries was 28.9%. The mean dmft and DMFT scores for 6-year-olds were 2.1 ± 3.75 and 0.16 ± 0.59, respectively, and corresponding values for 13-year-olds were 0.03 ± 0.19 and 0.91 ± 2.04. Of the total sample, the mean BMI was 16.56 ± 2.8. Approximately 63.4% of the children were classified as normal weight, 18.1% as overweight and 7.5% as obese. When adjusted for covariates, the logistic regression model showed that there was a significant association between overweight children (P < 0.001), obese children (P < 0.05) and caries prevalence.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated a significant association between caries frequency and obesity in school children. In future preventive programmes, the importance of obesity should not only be emphasised with respect to general diseases but also with regard to carious lesions.
Keywords: body mass index, dental caries, obese, overweight, socioeconomic status