Adverse birth outcomes and childhood caries: a cohort study

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To examine the association between adverse birth outcomes and dental caries in primary teeth.


This study included children in Khon Kaen, Thailand, who participated in the Prospective Cohort Study of Thai Children. Preterm was defined as a birth at <37 weeks gestation, low birthweight (LBW) as birthweight <2500 g, and small-for-gestational age (SGA) as birthweight <10th percentile of expected weight for gestational age. Two calibrated dentists measured dental caries in primary teeth when the children were 3–4 years old using decayed, missing and filled surfaces (dmfs) index following the World Health Organization criteria. We used negative binomial regression with generalize linear models to estimate relative risks (RRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for confounding factors. Of 758 children with gestational age data and 833 with birthweight data, the 544 (follow-up rate of 71.8% in preterm and 65.3% in LBW) who had dental data available were included in the analysis.


Dental caries was observed in 480 children (88.2%), with a mean dmfs of 14.3 (standard deviation 12.8). The adjusted RR for dental caries was 0.61 (95% CI 0.43, 0.85) for preterm, 0.89 (95% CI 0.67, 1.21) for LBW, and 0.96 (95% CI 0.74, 1.26) for SGA.


There was an inverse association between preterm and childhood caries. LBW and SGA were not associated with dental caries in this population.

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