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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Vitamin D status of children with severe early childhood caries: a case–control study

Robert J Schroth124*, Jeremy A Levi12, Elizabeth A Sellers12, James Friel12, Eleonore Kliewer12 and Michael EK Moffatt123

Author Affiliations

1 The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

2 The Manitoba Institute of Child Health, Winnipeg, Canada

3 Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Winnipeg, Canada

4 Department of Preventive Dental Science, Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, 507 – 715 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3E 3P4, Canada

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:174  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-174

Published: 25 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Severe Early Childhood Caries (S-ECC) affects the health and well-being of young children. There is limited research in this area, though evidence suggests that children with S-ECC are at an increased risk of malnutrition. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between vitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and S-ECC.

Methods

This case–control study was conducted from 2009 to 2011 in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 144 preschool children with S-ECC were recruited from a local health centre on the day of their slated dental surgery under general anesthetic. 122 caries-free controls were recruited from the community. Children underwent a blood draw for vitamin D (25(OH)D), calcium, parathyroid hormone, and albumin levels. Parents completed an interviewed questionnaire assessing the child’s nutritional habits, oral health, and family demographics. Analyses included descriptive and bivariate statistics as well as multiple and logistic regression. A p value ≤ 0.05 was significant.

Results

The mean age of participants was 40.8 ± 14.1 months. Children with S-ECC had significantly lower mean 25(OH)D (68.9 ± 28.0 nmol/L vs. 82.9 ± 31.1, p < 0.001), calcium (p < 0.001), and albumin (p < 0.001) levels, and significantly higher parathyroid hormone (p < 0.001) levels than those caries-free. Children with S-ECC were significantly more likely to have vitamin D levels below recognized thresholds for optimal and adequate status (i.e. <75 and <50 nmol/L, respectively). Multiple regression analysis revealed that S-ECC, infrequent milk consumption, and winter season were significantly associated with lower 25(OH)D concentrations. Low 25(OH)D levels, low household income, and poorer ratings of the child’s general health were significantly associated with S-ECC on logistic regression.

Conclusion

Children with S-ECC appear to have relatively poor nutritional health compared to caries-free controls, and were significantly more likely to have low vitamin D, calcium, and albumin concentrations and elevated PTH levels.

Keywords:
Early childhood caries; Vitamin D; Nutritional status; Calcium; Parathyroid hormone; Preschool children