Vietnam tooth project: Relationship between childhood caries and weight status in Vietnam
Background: Early childhood tooth decay is a prevalent yet neglected infectious disease, affecting 50-95% of young children under age 6 in many developing regions. Concurrently, many developing nations are experiencing high rates of malnutrition. Our study seeks to provide a low-cost, prevention-focused intervention in Vietnam to overcome poor dental health and malnutrition. Methods: We enrolled 601 children between two and six years old in 5 sites in Vietnam. We provided semi-annual fluoride varnish applications and annual lessons on nutrition and oral hygiene to children and their parents and teachers. We measured the children's height and weight and determined dmft (decayed, missing, and filled teeth) status utilizing dental exams. We collected data regarding nutrition and oral hygiene practices from guardians through questionnaires. Results: Our baseline data showed that 75% of the enrolled children had at least one tooth-decay, and on average they had 5.7 decayed, missing or filled teeth. The prevalence of tooth decay increased from 17% among 2 year-olds to 63% among 3 year-olds, and 93% among 6 year-olds. Half of parents reported his/her child had complained of mouth pain, and half noted his/her child has trouble eating due to mouth pain. About 36% of the children consumed soda, 50% sweets/confectionary, and 60% chips at least once a week. Among the children, 37% were overweight and 21% obese. Conclusions: The data show a high prevalence of tooth decay and malnutrition among the children. The relationship between nutrition status and oral health is complex, and directionality should be further investigated.
Other professions or practice related to public health
Discuss the current oral health and nutrition status among Vietnamese children ages 2-6
Describe new ideas on how to integrate undergraduate student teams into research projects and facilitate student-led projects
Keyword(s): Nutrition, Oral Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the lead investigator for the project and have led two other public health research projects. I am a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, who double-majored in Public Health and Molecular and Cell Biology as an undergraduate. I am currently a master's degree candidate at Harvard University's School of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.