Effect of protein energy malnutrition (PEM) on oral health status of children aged 6 years old in Sammawa city


Background: It has been realized that good nutrition is interdependent with good health, and the protein is the mostimportant nutrient because it regulates the key process within the body, so if any deficiencies in protein occur this willlead to protein-energy malnutrition which is evaluated by using anthropometric measurements(height and weight).When PEM begins it affects adversely various aspects of growth and increase the severity of oral problems later. Ithas been reported that dental caries and enamel defect occur in malnourished children more than well nourished.The aim of this study was to investigate the nutritional status of children by physical examination and its effect ondental caries and enamel anomalies in relation to gender.Materials and methods: This study was conducted among urban primary school children aged 6 years in sammawacity which lies 300 Km south of Baghdad, were clinically evaluated to determine the prevalence of dental cariesand enamel anomalies in relation to protein energy malnutrition. The sample size composed of 300 childrendistributed in primary schools which were randomly selected from different areas in sammawa city. The samples wereexamined physically by anthropometric measurements (weight and height) and orally for dental caries and enameldefects.Results: The malnourished children with mild grade was the most prevalent grade in this study, males showedmalnutrition more than females within the same age group, dmfs and DMFS according to nutritional status indicatorswere higher among malnourished children than well nourished group, the enamel opacities was higher in femalesthan in males regarding gender differences and according to nutritional status indicators was higher among wellnourished children than malnourished group in both primary and permanent dentition.Conclusion: The prevalence of malnutrition was higher in boys than in girls, also the prevalence of dental caries washigher in malnourished children when compared with well nourished children, while enamel opacities was presentonly in well nourished children when compared with malnourished group, it was absent in malnourished children