A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Study: Poor Dental Health May be Contributing to Your Child's Obesity

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Study: Poor Dental Health May be Contributing to Your Child's Obesity



Did you know that it's three times more likely for a child with poor dental health to miss school as a result of dental pain in comparison to a child with excellent oral health? While dental health can have a major impact on a child's day-to-day life, a new study goes so far as to suggest that poor oral health may be part of the reason some children are overweight.


The study out of Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden claims that there is a direct correlation between a child's oral health and their overall body mass index (BMI). Louise Arvidsson, a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, spoke about the findings.


“Weight can be a sensitive subject, but if you talk about eating behaviours alongside dental health, you are looking at the issue from a different angle,” Arvidsson said. “The question is whether a healthy diet can have effect also in young children. There has been a lot of focus on physical activity and mental health in children, but diet is an increasingly recognised aspect.”


In the study, 271 children had their body fat, eating behavior, and dental health analyzed. Each child was kept for one day of observation and had the cariogenic micro-organisms in their saliva checked out.


The study showed that a child who had more bacteria in their mouth also had a higher BMI.


"It clearly doesn't work, stopping your child from eating too much, or putting them on a diet, as some people were convinced. You really have to look at other methods to control a child's eating habits," Arvidsson said.


Along with the good oral health that healthy food brings children, it can also help increase self-esteem, improve relationships, and lead to fewer emotional problems.


However, it is important to note that any parent who restricts their child's food intake when they are younger may cause them to struggle with overeating or other difficult eating habits later in life. It is suggested that children eat 400 to 500 grams of fruits and vegetables each day, have a low intake of sugar and saturated fat, and consume fish only two to three times per week.

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