While tooth decay can cause further dental complications, a new study has found that the problem could also increase the risk of obesity in children, according to findings presented at The Endocrine Societys annual meeting.
In an effort to discover the link between poor oral hygiene and excess weight gain, researchers enrolled a total of 65 children between the ages of 2 and 5 into a study. All the participants were given a dental exam and had blood taken.
Despite the recommended amount of daily caloric intake ranging from 1,000 to 1,400 for children in this age group, researchers discovered that 71 percent of the children ate more than 1,200 calories per day. Also, approximately 28 percent of participants that showed signs of tooth decay also suffered from an unhealthy body mass index.
Kathleen Bethin, a pediatrician at Women and Childrens Hospital of Buffalo, stated that dental decay is “the most common chronic disease of childhood, and obesity in youth is a growing problem.” She added that “to prevent these problems, the dentists office may be an important place to educate families about nutrition.”
While improvements in a childs diet may help prevent the development of tooth decay, parents who suffer from this complication or gum disease could pass these problems onto their children, according a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.