Anca Maria RÃ£ducanu, Roxana Speranta Vlad, Ion Victor Feraru, Monica CrÃ£ciuneac, Claudiu Herteliu, Irina Cristea
Introduction: Many scientific studies have evaluated the general development of children with early childhood caries (ECC). The results of these studies may vary, between the lack of association of this disease with alterations in the general parameters of growth and the presence of significant modifications of these parameters but none have previously been performed in Romania. Aims: To compare the anthropometric indices (Ponderal, Statural, and Nutritional) of two groups of preschool children with/without (severe) early childhood caries?(S)-ECC and to assess any association between theses variables. Methods: The study was conducted using two groups of preschool children: a study group of 308 patients (141 girls and 167 boys) with S-ECC and a control group of 200 children (100 girls and 100 boys) without ECC. After obtaining parental consent and ethics approval, all children were examined for caries by one examiner. Their height and weight were measured in order to calculate their Ponderal Index (PI), Statural Index (SI), and Nutritional Index (NI). Changes in these anthropometric indices were evaluated based on age, gender, and severity of ECC. To test for statistical differences between the groups, the chi-square test was used. Odds ratios were also calculated. Results: In both groups, normal overall development predominated. PI was the most affected, particularly in children with S-ECC. In children with modified growth parameters, underweight predominated (more than half of the children with S-ECC). More than three-quarters of the underweight children with S-ECC showed a ponderal (weight) deficiency of between 10% and 25%. In contrast, among the healthy children in the control group, the predominant growth disorder was overweight. Conclusions: The growth of 28.6% of the preschool children in the study group (estimated through the NI) appeared to be negatively associated with ECC. There was a directly proportional association between the severity of ECC and the severity of the underdevelopment, expressed by the alteration of the development indices (SI, PI, and NI). The children?s age had a statistically relevant influence on the alteration in growth. The greatest differences for all the development indexes were found in children older than five years. Gender had no statistically significant impact on the general growth parameters.