Malnutrition and Developmental Defects of Enamel in 2- to 6 -Year-Old Saudi BoysRugg-Gunn A.J. · Al-Mohammadi S.M. · Butler T.J.
Department of Child Dental Health, Newcastle University Dental School, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Three hundred and ninety boys aged 2, 4 or 6 years from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, took part in a survey in 1993/94. The main aims of the study were first, to identify factors related to malnutrition in young children since a study of older children from the same area 1 year before had shown malnutrition to be strongly related to prevalence of developmental defects of enamel (DDE) of permanent teeth and, second, to identify factors related to the prevalence of developmental defects of primary teeth. Enamel defects were recorded by clinical examination of the buccal surfaces of all primary teeth by 1 examiner using the DDE index. A questionnaire to parents provided information on socio-economic status, illness in the mother and child, infant feeding, trauma to teeth and toothbrushing. A 24-hour dietary record, to estimate water and milk intake, and a 24-hour urine collection were obtained for each child twice. Nutritional status was calculated from height for age using WHO methods. Multiple regression analyses revealed four variables related (p < 0.05) to malnourished status: low birth-weight, low volume of water drunk, child stopped breast- and bottle-feeding before 1 year of age, and low class urban or rural area of residence. Birth-weight was itself related to area of residence (p = 0.02), parental education (p = 0.02) and maternal illness during pregnancy (p = 0.06). Malnutrition (p < 0.001), low birth-weight (p < 0.001), childhood illness (p < 0.001), brushing of child’s teeth (p = 0.003) and swallowing toothpaste (p < 0.001) were related to the prevalence of developmental defects of primary teeth. This study indicated several independent variables which may be related to the prevalence of enamel defects in primary and permanent teeth, but longitudinal studies are required to determine which are causes and which are markers of these developmental defects.
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