Common Determinants of Dental Caries and Obesity in Children: A Multi-Ethnic Nested Birth Cohort Study in the United Kingdom

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Nov 29;18(23):12561. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182312561.


The article examines the common determinants of childhood dental caries and obesity. Longitudinal data from the Born in Bradford cohort study (BiB1000) (n = 1735) and dental data (dental general anaesthetics (GA) and oral health survey 2014/15) (n = 171) were used to test a framework on the social determinants of childhood dental caries (decayed, missing, filled teeth (dmft) index) and obesity (body mass index (BMI)). The BiB1000 data were collected at pregnancy week 26-28 and after birth at 6, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months. The determinants were demographics, wellbeing, socio-economic status (SES), dietary behaviours and physical activity behaviour of the children. Missing data were accounted for through multiple imputation (MI). The framework was tested through structural equation modelling. Overall, the model fit was adequate. No alcohol consumption of the mother after giving birth, higher frequency of child drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, emotional and behavioural difficulties of the child and being male were directly associated with both BMI and dental caries. Caregivers uninvolved or indulgent feeding style were associated with higher BMI and less dental caries. Social deprivation was associated with lower BMI and higher dmft. Five determinants were directly associated with BMI only. Fifteen indirect paths were significant for both child dental caries and BMI. The findings suggest common determinants for both childhood obesity and dental caries. Common risk factor approach seems appropriate for planning future health promotion programmes.

Keywords: children’s oral health; common risk factor; dental caries; paediatric obesity; structural equation modelling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Cohort
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Pediatric Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Social Deprivation