Low BMI and Dental Caries Risk

There have been a number of studies conducted over the past 10 years looking at the correlation between Dental Caries risk and high BMI. These studies (basically) conclude that high BMI correlates to higher Caries Risk; in general children with high BMI consume more carbohydrate and sugar than their normal BMI counterparts. What is interesting about this study out of India is children that are underweight also have a higher incidence of dental caries.




Body mass index (BMI) is an index that measures height for weight, which is commonly used to categorize underweight, overweight, and obese individuals. Deviation from normal weight results from an imbalance between caloric consumption and energy expenditure. Childhood obesity and childhood dental caries are coincidental in many populations, probably due to common confounding risk factors, such as intake frequency, cariogenic diet, and poor oral hygiene. So the aim of the present study was to assess the BMI status and to corelate between dental caries and BMI among the Anganwadi children of Belgaum city, Karnataka, India.


Four hundred and thirty three children from 20 Anganwadi’s belonging to the age group of 2 to 6 years of both sexes were measured for BMI and dental caries status. The caries index was measured as the number of decayed (d) and filled (f) teeth (t) (dft). The BMI in units of kg/m2 was determined and children were categorized according to age-and gender-specific criteria as underweight (<5th percentile), normal (5th-85th percentile), at risk for overweight (85th- 95th percentile), and overweight (>95th percentile). The data were subjected to statistical analysis using Student’s t-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Karl Pearson’s correlation coefficient test with the help of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18.0.


The proportion of subjects in Centre for Disease Control (CDC) weight categories was: 5% underweight, 79% normal, 9% under the risk for overweight, and 6% overweight.


A significant association was found between children with normal BMI and those who were underweight, overweight, and under the risk for overweight. Children with overweight/obese or underweight/malnourished children had higher decayed and filled surfaces compared to children with normal weight.


Nutritional status has a profound effect on dental caries. Both underweight/malnutrition and overweight/ obesity have significant adverse implications for health. Childhood obesity and childhood dental caries are coincidental in many populations. (Aluckal E, Anzil K, Baby M, George EK, Lakshmanan S, et al. Association between Body Mass Index and Dental Caries among Anganwadi Children of Belgaum City, India. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2016 Oct 1;17(10):844-848. India 433 2-6 yro).


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