According to an Israeli study, teeth of underweight and obese people are suggestively more decayed than the other population.
The study is a first of its kind and took a huge sample, which showed that there was an average of 2 or 2.1 decayed teeth in those who were of normal weight or overweight, respectively.
This average increased to 2.4 in people belonging to the underweight and obese demographics. The research has been peer reviewed and dental records as well as other data of about 66,790 Israeli soldiers had been analyzed.
The average age of these soldiers was about 22.8. The body mass index (BMI) was used for standard categorizations, which means underweight people have a score of 18.5, while 18.5 to 25 is for normal people.
Overweight people have a score of somewhere between 25 and 30, while those over 30 are categorized as obese.
Some researchers have questioned the use of BMI as a measure because they have said that it does not consider factors like muscle mass.
Dr. Galit Almoznino of the Department of Oral Medicine of Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center authored the study with her colleagues.
She reported that the research shows a positive association between dental caries (jargon for tooth decay) and obesity and underweight BMI categories.
It should be noted that there was no hypothesis put forward by scholars for the correlation, but they highlighted the practical implications.
According to Almoznino, people who are obese and underweight need to be extra vigilant about their dental health and their dental needs should be given attention by policymakers.
She stated that the findings of the study showed that there needs to be awareness about these common morbidities.
She also said that they showed the need for better allocation of resources, so there could be focus on obese and underweight populations who need dental treatment.
The correlation that exists between caries and BMI is undetermined for now. According to Almoznino and the others, their study is the first to have conducted such a detailed analysis.
They think that this kind of research is best done in Israel because it keeps meticulous records in the military and also because there is ethnic diversity.
Therefore, it can be generalized to apply to many countries. They also explored the possibility that being obese or underweight was also a byproduct of common factors in people with high levels of tooth decay, such as socioeconomic status.
As a matter of fact, a high level of tooth decay usually has a range of characteristics. These include low levels of education, low socioeconomic status, inadequate brushing, unhealthy lifestyle habits and sugary foods.
But, the study had used a massive sample for performing a detailed analysis, which considered the incidence of decay in every demographic.
According to the authors, there was a strong correlation between caries and BMI, which means that the study was independent of health-related practices, the socio-demographic and other systemic conditions.