Is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder a risk factor for dental caries? A case-control study

Caries Res. 2004 Jan-Feb;38(1):29-33. doi: 10.1159/000073917.


Experience in practice has suggested that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to have higher numbers of diseased, missing and filled teeth (DMFT score) than children without the condition. To date, however, this impression has not been systematically investigated. A case-control study of children in Otago, New Zealand (case DMFT > or = 5; control DMFT <5; case status determined from School Dental Service dental records) was conducted by postal survey and reference to the School Dental Service records. Cases and controls were matched on age, sex, ethnicity, and school socio-economic status. The purpose of the study was to assess whether having ADHD was associated with higher odds of having high caries experience. Questionnaires were returned for a total of 128 case-control pairs. Conditional logistical regression analysis showed that, after controlling for fluoride history, medical problems, diet, and self-reported oral hygiene, children with ADHD had nearly 12 times the odds of having a high DMFT score than children who did not have ADHD (OR = 11.98; 95% CI 1.13, 91.81). No other factors were significant predictors. Dental practitioners and parents should consider ADHD to be a condition that may affect children's dental caries experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oral Hygiene / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires