A new study suggests that tooth decay may push back growth in children. The study appeared in the online version of Pediatrics journal and was conducted at University College London and King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital in Saudi Arabia.
The research team wanted to explore the relationship between oral health and growth after previous studies failed to show definitive evidence one way or the other. In this study, the researchers looked at the dental decay and the correlation between height and weight in Saudi Arabian children ages 6 through 8.
The oral health of the children was graded on the DMFT scale, which is a scale that determines the seriousness of decayed, missing and filled teeth.
The research team later analyzed the statistics and concluded that there was, in fact, a relationship between low height/weight and a greater number of cavities. Children with severe decay had a higher chance of being underweight and shorter when compared to their peers.
Even when some secondary factors, like demographics and social values, were factored in, the correlation between decay and stunted growth still existed. Based on this study, it’s fair to say there is an inverse relationship between growth and tooth decay in children. More research is necessary to confirm this study’s findings.