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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Oral health and obesity indicators

Anna-Lena Östberg12*, Calle Bengtsson3, Lauren Lissner4 and Magnus Hakeberg12

Author Affiliations

1 Dept of Behavioral and Community Dentistry, Institute of Odontology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden

2 Research Center, Public Dental Service, Region Västra Götaland, Göteborg, Sweden

3 Dept of Public Health and Community Medicine/Primary Health Care, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden

4 Dept of Public Health and Community Medicine/Public Health Epidemiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden

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BMC Oral Health 2012, 12:50  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-12-50

Published: 20 November 2012

Abstract

Background

In western Sweden, the aim was to study the associations between oral health variables and total and central adiposity, respectively, and to investigate the influence of socio-economic factors (SES), lifestyle, dental anxiety and co-morbidity.

Methods

The subjects constituted a randomised sample from the 1992 data collection in the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden (n = 999, 38- > =78 yrs). The study comprised a clinical and radiographic examination, together with a self-administered questionnaire. Obesity was defined as body mass index (BMI) > =30 kg/m2, waist-hip ratio (WHR) > =0.80, and waist circumference >0.88 m. Associations were estimated using logistic regression including adjustments for possible confounders.

Results

The mean BMI value was 25.96 kg/m2, the mean WHR 0.83, and the mean waist circumference 0.83 m. The number of teeth, the number of restored teeth, xerostomia, dental visiting habits and self-perceived health were associated with both total and central adiposity, independent of age and SES. For instance, there were statistically significant associations between a small number of teeth (<20) and obesity: BMI (OR 1.95; 95% CI 1.40-2.73), WHR (1.67; 1.28-2.19) and waist circumference (1.94; 1.47-2.55), respectively. The number of carious lesions and masticatory function showed no associations with obesity. The obesity measure was of significance, particularly with regard to behaviour, such as irregular dental visits, with a greater risk associated with BMI (1.83; 1.23-2.71) and waist circumference (1.96; 1.39-2.75), but not with WHR (1.29; 0.90-1.85).

Conclusions

Associations were found between oral health and obesity. The choice of obesity measure in oral health studies should be carefully considered.

Keywords:
Body mass index; Waist-to-hip ratio; Waist circumference; Number of teeth; Health behaviour