Objective: To evaluate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and dental caries and to study the role of sweet consumption in predicting this relationship among adolescent children in Udupi district, India.
Methods: The study population consisted of 463 school children in the 13−15-year age group. Anthropometric (height in metres and weight in kilograms) and caries measurements and decayed missing filled teeth (DMFT) index, were carried out by a trained recorder according to standard criteria.
Results: The majority of the children were having low normal weight (BMI < 25) with 18.6% classified as overweight (BMI 25−29.9) and 3.5% as obese (BMI ≥ 30). The frequency of sweet consumption significantly increased from low normal weight children to overweight and obese children. Analysis showed that the obese group of children had more caries than the overweight and low normal weight children. Correlation analysis showed significant positive relation with BMI, decayed teeth (DT) [r =0.254, p < 0.001] and DMFT (r = 0.242, p < 0.001). Binomial logistic regression showed that males (OR = 2.09, CI = 1.01, 4.33), obese/overweight children (OR = 3.68, CI = 1.79, 7.56) and those who consumed sweets more than once a day (OR = 3.13, CI = 1.25, 7.85) were more likely to have high caries experience.
Conclusion: There was a significant association between overweight/obesity and caries experience among school children of the Udupi district. Obesity and dental caries have common risk determinants and require a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach by both medical and dental healthcare professionals.