Presentation Blocks: 03-22-2018 - Thursday - 03:45 PM - 05:00 PM

Title: Healthy Diet and Dental Caries Among Adolescents, NHANES 2011-2014


Woosung Sohn (Presenter)
Boston University

Elizabeth Kaye, Boston University
Raul Garcia, Boston University


Objectives: To investigate a healthy diet pattern with regard to dental caries among adolescents.

Methods: We analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycles 2011-14 data. Included for the analysis were 3518 adolescents aged 9-19 who participated in the dental examination and dietary interview (day 1). Dental caries assessment included numbers of decayed (D), missing (M) and filled (F) teeth/surfaces, separately and summed scores (DMFT/DMFS). We assessed healthy diet by calculating the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI) score based on 24-hour dietary recall data. HEI comprises 12 food groups, and lower scores indicate poor adherence to healthy diet guidelines. We grouped adolescents into 4 groups (HEI quartile I, II, III, and IV). Descriptive analyses, linear and logistic regressions were used to determine the association between HEI and dental caries. Covariates include age, gender, race/ethnicity, poverty/income ratio, and number of teeth in the mouth. Analyses were weighted and accounted for complex survey design using survey procedures in SAS.

Results: Adolescents who have untreated caries (DT>0), had significantly lower overall HEI scores than those without any untreated decay. After adjusting for covariates, poorer diet groups (HEI quartile I and II), compared to the healthiest diet group (HEI quartile IV), were 2 (95%CI: 1.4-2.8) and 1.6 (95% CI: 1.0-2.4) times more likely to have any untreated caries, respectively. Higher HEI scores were significantly associated with lower untreated caries (p<0.01), but also with higher filled teeth/surfaces hence with higher DMFT/DMFS scores (p<0.01), after accounting for confounding. Adolescents with untreated caries had significantly lower scores for fruits, whole grains, and empty calories (solid fats, alcohol, added sugars) than those without untreated caries.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that healthy diet may play a role in caries prevention among adolescents. Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between healthy diet and dental caries prevention.