J Glob Health. 2022 Jun 18;12:04046. doi: 10.7189/jogh.12.04046.
BACKGROUND: The evidence around the relationship between Early Childhood Caries (ECC) and undernutrition is sparse and mostly reported from cross-sectional data sets. This paper aimed to test the relationship between ECC and linear and ponderal growth trajectories.
METHODS: This project involves secondary data analysis from the Cambodia Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Study. The analytical sample included a 2y-cohort of 894 children who were younger than 2 years of age at the time of first height and weight measurement. Statistical analysis used both logistic regression modelling and Latent Class Analysis to examine the effect of exposure to dental caries in the first 1000 days on weight for height Z-score (WHZ) and height for age Z-score (HAZ) trajectory class groups. The presence of any cavity and pulp involvement were examined using multinomial regression adjusting for gender, socioeconomic status, maternal age and education.
FINDINGS: Within each class groupings (HAZ and WHZ groupings), there was a trend whereby those with one or more cavities had lower Z-scores across the three follow-up time points of observation. There was an association between exposure to caries and WHZ class membership whereby children with caries exposure were more likely belong to WHZ class groups with lower Z-scores over time.
CONCLUSIONS: The study offers evidence that ECC is correlated with less favourable ponderal growth categorized by WHZ trajectory class groups.