Caries experience and salivary physicochemical characteristics among overweight intermediate school females aged 13-15 years in Babylon – Iraq


Background: Obesity is a serious public health concern that has reached epidemic proportions; the prevalence, aswell as the severity of obesity in adolescents is increasing at an alarming rate. A close relationship was foundbetween weight status and dental caries. Thus this research aimed to assess the prevalence and severity of dentalcaries among overweight adolescent females in relation to physicochemical characteristics of stimulated wholesaliva in comparison with normal weight adolescent females.Materials and methods: The total sample involved for nutritional status assessment is composed of 2678 females aged13-15 years. This was performed using Body Mass Index specific for age and gender according to CDC growth chart(2000). The diagnosis and recording of dental caries was by using Decay, Missing, Filled surface index (DMFs); andaccording to the criteria of Manji et al (1989). Salivary samples were collected from 30 overweight females and theircontrol under standardized conditions and then analyzed for measuring salivary flow rate and viscosity, in addition toestimation essential elements (zinc, copper, calcium, iron, and total protein).Results: The caries experience among the overweight females was lower than that among the normal weight withnon significant difference. Salivary analysis demonstrated that the salivary flow rate was non significantly higheramong overweight females. The viscosity of saliva was having an equal value among both groups. The data analysisof salivary elements found that the zinc and copper concentrations were highly significant higher among theoverweight females than that among the normal weight. The opposite result found concerning salivary calcium levelwith also highly significant difference; while the iron and total protein were non significantly lower among theoverweight females. DMFs and its grades correlated negatively weak with salivary flow rate among overweightfemales; while concerning salivary viscosity, the correlation was direct weak with DMFs. Salivary copper, calcium andtotal protein showed an inverse correlation with dental caries.Conclusion: The results of the current research revealed that overweight affect the caries experience. Several ofsalivary factors that found to be higher among the overweight females might play a role in protection of teeth fromdental caries