Malnutrition has no effect on the timing of human tooth formation.
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The effect of nutrition on the timing of human tooth formation is poorly understood. Delays and advancements in dental maturation have all been reported as well as no effect. We investigated the effect of severe malnutrition on the timing of human tooth formation in a large representative sample of North Sudanese children. The sample (1102 males, 1013 females) consisted of stratified randomly selected healthy individuals in Khartoum, Sudan, aged 2-22 years using a cross-sectional design following the STROBE statement. Nutritional status was defined using WHO criteria of height and weight. Body mass index Z-scores and height for age Z-scores of ≤-2 (cut-off) were used to identify the malnourished group (N = 474) while the normal was defined by Z-scores of ≥0 (N = 799). Clinical and radiographic examination of individuals, with known ages of birth was performed including height and weight measurements. Mandibular left permanent teeth were assessed using eight crown and seven root established tooth formation stages. Mean age at entry and mean age within tooth stages were calculated for each available tooth stage in each group and compared using a t-test. Results show the mean age at entry and mean age within tooth stages were not significantly different between groups affected by severe malnutrition and normal children (p>0.05). This remarkable finding was evident across the span of dental development. We demonstrate that there is little measurable effect of sustained malnutrition on the average timing of tooth formation. This noteworthy finding supports the notion that teeth have substantial biological stability and are insulated from extreme nutritional conditions compared to other maturing body systems.
AuthorsElamin, F; Liversidge, HM
- College Publications