Stop the presses!
Although the lead author of the study in question, Dr. Kathleen Bethin of SUNY Buffalo, notes that there’s been “very little published data associating” obesity and caries (cavities), we have known for a long time that sugars and fermentable carbohydrates – the two most dominant ingredients in highly processed junk food – contribute to cavities. We’ve also known that such foods contribute to obesity. So should we be surprised to see some correlation between obesity and decay rates? It would seem that this study – presented last month at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society – just quantifies the phenomenon.
“The main point of our findings is that poor nutrition may link obesity to tooth decay,” says Bethin. “Thus the dental office, or ‘dental home,’ may be an ideal place to educate families about nutrition and the risks of obesity and dental decay.
“Our results found no difference in total calories consumed by the overweight and healthy-weight kids,” noted Bethin, “so the problem isn’t overeating, per se, just making the wrong food choices.”
Bethin and colleagues now are analyzing whether the overweight children eat more processed sugar, drink more juice and have other unhealthy eating habits compared to the healthy-weight children.
“Wrong food choices” are the problem but they need to analyze whether they’re the problem?
We do agree, though: the dental office is a great place to teach people about nutrition. We hope that more and more dental professionals start doing that teaching.