Does dental caries affect dental development in children and adolescents?
Although a link between dietary changes, caries, and dental development has been observed, the literature provides little insight about this relationship. The aim of our study was to investigate the association between dental caries and dental development in a clinical sample of Albanian children and adolescents. In total, 118 children and adolescents, born between 1995 and 2004 and aged 6–15 years, were included. Dental caries in the deciduous dentition was assessed using the Decayed, Filled Teeth (dft) index and dental caries in the permanent dentition was assessed using the Decayed, Missing, Filled Teeth (DMFT) index. Dental development during the permanent dentition was determined using the Demirjian method. Linear and ordinal regression models were applied to analyze the associations of dental caries with dental age and developmental stages of each left mandibular tooth. Dental caries in the deciduous dentition, estimated as a median dft of 2.0 (90% range, 0.0–9.1), was significantly associated with lower dental age (β = -0.21; 90% CI: -0.29, -0.12) and with delayed development of the canine, both premolars, and the second molar. Untreated dental caries (dt) was associated with lower dental age (β = -0.19; 90% CI: -0.28, -0.10). Dental caries in the permanent dentition, estimated as a median DMFT of 1.0 (90% range, 0.0–8.0), was not significantly associated with dental age (β = 0.05; 90% CI: -0.04, 0.14). However, the DMFT was associated with the advanced stages of development of both premolars and the second molar. The untreated dental caries in the deciduous dentition delays the development of permanent teeth.
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