Nutritional status and dental caries in a large sample of 4- and 5-year-old South African children
Background. Evidence from studies involving small samples of children in Africa, India and South America suggests a higher dental caries rate in malnourished children. A comparison was done to evaluate wasting and stunting and their association with dental caries in four samples of South African children.
Design. Cross-sectional study based on random sampling of birth records of two age bands.
Methods. A total of 2 728 4- and 5-year-old South African children from one rural community and three urban. communities were examined for nutritional status and dental caries.
Results. In the total sample prevalences of wasting were mild (28%), moderate (4%) and severe (2%). For stunting the prevalences were mild (13%), moderate (3%) and severe (1%). For both conditions rural children showed higher proportions than the other groups. Statistical analysis showed statistically significant differences for wasting and stunting between the study groups. No significant association was found between the prevalence of caries and stunting or wasting, but an association was noted between wasting and decayed, missing and filled (drnf) surfaces (P = 0.003).
Conclusions. In the series of children studied, nutritional status was not found to be clinically relevant to dental caries prevalence and experience.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the SAMJ is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The SAMJ does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.
Previously published images
If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.