Impact of Medical and Surgical Obesity Treatment on Dental Caries: A 2-Year Prospective Cohort Study

Caries Res. 2023;57(3):231-242. doi: 10.1159/000533609. Epub 2023 Aug 16.


The objective was to study the long-term effects on oral health of bariatric surgery compared with medical treatment of obesity. Swedish females with morbid obesity (n = 66; 18-35 years at baseline) were followed prospectively from before obesity treatment until 2 years after treatment. The main response variable was dental caries registered according to the ICDAS-II system. Possible confounding factors, such as sociodemographic characteristics, general health, oral health habits, and oral hygiene, were controlled for. The statistical methods included χ2 tests, Student's t tests, one-way ANOVA, Wilcoxon's nonparametric tests, and linear regression models. In the surgically treated patients (n = 40), a significant increase over time in enamel caries (mean increase 4.13 tooth surfaces ICDAS1-2), dentine caries (mean increase 2.18 tooth surfaces ICDAS3-6), and total caries (mean increase 6.30 tooth surfaces ICDAS1-6) was registered (all p < 0.001), which was not seen in the medically treated patients (n = 26). However, the difference between the treatment groups (surgical or medical) was only statistically significant for enamel caries (crude β 4.89, p = 0.003) and total caries (crude β 6.53, p < 0.001). The relationships were stable and independent of differences in confounders as socioeconomy, general health, and oral health behaviors. In conclusion, 2 years after obesity treatment, a significant increase in dental caries was registered in the surgically treated but not in the medically treated women. The dental service should intensify its preventive efforts in individuals undergoing obesity treatment.

Trial registration: NCT03152617.

Keywords: Bariatrics; Dental caries; Oral health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dental Caries* / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Oral Health
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tooth*

Associated data