Association Between Dental Caries and Body Mass Index in Schoolchildren Aged Between 14 and 16 Years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Abdullah Alghamdi, Ahmed Almahdy


Background: Dental caries and obesity are multifactorial diseases that have common risk factors. Studies worldwide reported varied outcomes about the association between dental caries and obesity. There is no published study that investigates this association among schoolchildren in Arabic countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between dental caries (DMFT) and body mass index (BMI) for children aged between 14 and 16 years old in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The role of oral hygiene habits, parents education, sugar consumption and physical activity in causing both diseases was also evaluated.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that involved 610 schoolchildren aged between 14 and 16 years. The children were selected from 12 boys intermediate schools distributed in Riyadh city. A questionnaire that asked about demographic data, oral hygiene habits, parents education, sugar consumption and physical activity was distributed. Then, the mean DMFT and BMI were calculated by collecting the information from dental examination, body weight and height. Multivariate logistic regression model was used to explain the relationship between the teeth health and the BMI. Moreover, multivariate linear regression was conducted to model the relationship between DMFT and BMI and the socioeconomic score, sugar consumption and physical activity.

Results: The prevalence of dental caries (DMFT > 0) was 54.1%. Around 32% of the schoolchildren were either overweight or obese. A statistically significant association between dental caries (DMFT) and BMI was found (P = 0.008). It was found that obese schoolchildren are 1.79 times higher to be with healthy teeth (P = 0.02). In addition, it was found that schoolchildren with higher socioeconomic status are 1.26 times higher to be with healthy teeth group (P = 0.005). Similarly, schoolchildren who reported that they are using the fluoridated toothpaste were 1.63 times higher to be within the healthy teeth group (DMFT = 0) when everything else is controlled. Physical activity level affects the schoolchildren BMI significantly (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The study showed a statistically significant association between dental caries and BMI for this study sample. Obese schoolchildren showed healthier teeth than others did. Fluoride toothpaste usage and socioeconomic score were associated significantly with dental caries.

J Clin Med Res. 2017;9(12):981-986


Dental caries; Body mass index; DMFT; Schoolchildren

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