A study of children ages 2-5 who underwent aggressive dental treatment under general anesthesia in the operating room by UB's pediatric dentists at the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo found that at least a quarter of the patients were over the recommended weight for their age or close to it, unlike their peers who had good teeth. Results of the research were presented at the International Association of Dental Research meeting held March 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.
"Prior studies in the 1990s found that children with rampant tooth decay appeared to be underweight, and this was attributed to a failure to thrive," said Hiran Perinpanayagam, D.D.S., Ph.D., an endodontist and assistant professor in UB's School of Dental Medicine and senior author on the study.
"In contrast, a more recent study found that the children with tooth decay did not have reduced bodyweight. Given these conflicting results, we thought a more definitive study was needed."
Sandra McDougal, D.D.S., pediatric dental resident was first author on the study.
The researchers analyzed all complete records of children 2-5 years old who were treated for early childhood cavities at the pediatric clinic in 2000 and between January and April 2005. The analysis included gender, age, height and bodyweight at the time of treatment. In young boys and girls, bodyweight is assessed using a measure called body-mass-index (BMI) for age, which takes into account childhood growth patterns.
A total of 407 records of children with cavities were reviewed -- 170 from 2000 and 237 from 2005 -- as well as records of 79 children seen in May 2005 who were cavity free.