Relationships Between Eating Habits and Periodontal Condition in University Students

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Being overweight is a risk factor for periodontitis. Unhealthy eating habits, which can induce overweight, may be involved in the development of periodontitis in young people. The present study aims to examine the relationships among overweight, eating habits, and the periodontal condition in Japanese university students.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of 801 university students (413 males and 388 females; age range: 18 to 25 years). Patients were classified as underweight (body mass index [BMI] <18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2), and overweight (BMI ≥23 kg/m2). Students completed a questionnaire including items related to eating habits and underwent oral health examinations. Patients with a community periodontal index (CPI) of 0 to 2 were considered controls, and patients with a CPI >2 were considered to have periodontitis.


The prevalence of underweight, normal weight, and overweight patients was 21%, 62%, and 17%, respectively. In overweight patients, the periodontitis risk was increased by the frequent consumption of fatty foods (adjusted odds ratio: 2.3; 95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 5.2; P <0.05) and reduced by the frequent consumption of vegetables (adjusted odds ratio: 0.2; 95% confidence interval: 0.1 to 0.7; P <0.01). In underweight and normal-weight groups, eating habits did not differ significantly according to the presence of periodontitis.


In overweight students, the frequent consumption of fatty foods and infrequent consumption of vegetables were associated with an increased risk of periodontitis. In underweight and normal-weight students, eating habits had little effect on the periodontal condition.

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