Effect of early childhood protein-energy malnutrition on permanent dentition dental caries

Elisandra Reyes-Perez, Luisa N. Borrell, Ralph V. Katz, Bette J. Gebrian, Samuel Prophete, Walter J. Psoter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conclusions ECPEM status is inversely associated with DMFT in Haitian participants. Further follow-up of these same participants will be recommended to evaluate the potential caries catch-up effect.

Objectives The objective of this study is to determine the effect of early childhood protein-energy malnutrition (ECPEM) on decayed, missing, filled tooth (DMFT) scores in the permanent dentition of rural Haitian adolescents aged 11-19 years (n=1,006).

Results Questionable malnutrition [rate ratio (RR)=0.72; 95 percent confidence interval (CI), 0.61-0.86] and malnutrition (RR=0.58; 95 percent CI, 0.49-0.69) were associated with a statistically significant lower DMFT in Haitian adolescents.

Methods We used data from a retrospective cohort that was developed from the Haitian Health Foundation database and merged records on weight-for-age covering the birth through 5-year-old period for all enrolled participants. Dental examinations and interviewer-administered structured questionnaires on demographic and socioeconomic status, and relative sugar consumption were completed in 1,058 participants aged 11-19 years. The ECPEM was defined based on weight-for-age of the subjects during their first 5 years of life that were converted to Z-scores based on the National Center for Health Statistics referent database. Descriptive statistics were calculated. DMFT was regressed on ECPEM adjusting for age, sex, current body mass index Z-score, socioeconomic status, relative sugar consumption, and number of permanent teeth present assuming a Poisson distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of public health dentistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014


  • Poisson regression
  • dental caries
  • early childhood malnutrition
  • enamel formation
  • permanent dentition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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