Obesity and dental caries are common, chronic conditions that share some risk factors, such as diet and lifestyle, suggesting a potential relationship between the two. When these conditions occur in childhood, they can have significant and potentially lifelong impacts.
If a connection between these conditions can be established, this may allow for targeted interventions that can reduce the prevalence of both. However, older studies have provided conflicting results about the nature and direction of any association. To investigate further, researchers in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom examined 26 studies published between 2015 and 2018 to see if a clearer picture would emerge.
Their review, published in International Journal of Dentistry, confirmed the findings of previous research indicating that the relationship between caries and obesity is complex and multifactorial. There was no consensus among the studies included in the review, with results showing a positive relationship, inverse relationship, no relationship and even a positive relationship in both directions between obesity and dental caries in children and adolescents.
The authors highlighted numerous factors that could affect the relationship between obesity and caries, such as the difference between primary and permanent dentition, and lifestyle factors such as diet and socioeconomic status. The team also considered the methodological differences between the included studies that may have affected their results, and recommended that future reviews should include high-quality longitudinal studies that can minimize confounding factors.
This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration by David Jury.