The link between overweight children and tooth cavities has been disproved, according to a new dental health study.
Overweight children have been found to have fewer instances of dental decay than children of normal weight, a study of nearly 18,000 young people suggests.
Traditional thinking has linked being fat to having more cavities but the study at the Eastman Dental Center (part of the University of Rochester Medical Center), the findings of which are published in Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, has overturned this assumption.
The study found no differences in rates of caries (tooth decay) among children ages 2-5 in all weight ranges, while children ages 6-18 who were considered overweight and at risk for becoming overweight showed a decreased risk of caries compared to their normal weight peers.
Eastman Dental Center’s Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, lead author of the report, said: ‘We expected to find more oral disease in overweight children of all ages, given the similar causal factors that are generally associated with obesity and caries.’
‘Our findings raise more questions than answers,’ she said, suggesting more research into diet and lifestyle was needed to understand the implications of the findings.
The study defined overweight children as being at the 95th or higher percentile for their age and sex; children at the 85th or higher percentile and less than 95th percentile for their age and sex were defined as at risk for becoming overweight.