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Childhood respiratory tract infection promotes dental caries in young adulthood

19 Dec 2016

Respiratory tract infection in early life may play a part in the development of dental caries in early adulthood, a new study reports.

For the study, children born between January 1, 1984 and March 31, 1990 were recruited. An initial baseline population of 2,568 children were sent questionnaires by March 1991, which the parents accomplished.

A 6-year follow-up survey was conducted by March 1997 where the follow-up rate was found to be 77.3 percent. Last 2011, the 20-year follow-up was performed and the follow-up rate, relative to the baseline population, was 63.2 percent. Therefore, a total of 1,623 responses were recorded and used for the final analysis.

The primary outcome evaluated was the development of dental caries, as measured by the number of filled teeth. This was determined through a questionnaire.

Data on respiratory tract infection and subsequent corresponding hospitalization of the respondents were obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Register database. The respiratory tract infections included pneumonia and acute bronchitis.

Similarly, these data were collected using questionnaires administered at baseline. Among the infections included in the questionnaire were tonsillitis, common colds, acute bronchitis, acute otitis media and pneumonia.

Information regarding age, second-hand exposure to tobacco smoke from birth to three years of age, socioeconomic status at baseline, gender and preterm birth was also collected to account for covariates.

From the analysis, it was found that the young adults who had lower respiratory tract infection leading to hospitalization before the age of 2 had 1.4 more mean number of filled teeth than those who had not.

Those who experienced lower respiratory tract infection before 7 years of age also had an absolute increase of 0.9 in the mean number of filled teeth. The adjusted relative excess was 1.3.

The findings imply that respiratory tract infections in childhood may play a role in the development of dental caries in early adulthood.

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In patients with type 2 diabetes, obesity may be protective against vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy, a recent Korea study has shown.
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