The dietary patterns of 12-year-old children and their awareness about the effect of diet on oral health in Iran

Document Type: Original Article(s)


1 Oral and Dental Diseases Research Center, AND Kerman Social Determinants on Oral Health Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Professor, Endodontology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Professor, Modeling in Health Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Foods containing carbohydrates have a major effect on the pathogenesis of dental caries. There is a direct correlation between frequency of consumption of foods containing sugar and dental caries. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the dietary patterns of 12-year-old children and their awareness about the effect of diet on oral health in Iran.METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 1554 children aged 12 years in 5 provinces in Iran. Subjects were selected based on a multistage stratified cluster random sampling procedure. Data were collected by a culturally adapted questionnaire that included demographic data (such as sex, age, parents’ job and education, and area), and questions about the frequency of consumption of cariogenic and non-cariogenic foods during the previous week.RESULTS: The mean score of diet-related behavior was 17.5 ± 5.9 (from 40). Approximately, 31.0% of children ate sweet foods (chocolate/cake/biscuit/chips), and 39.4% drank soft drinks (sugared tea or coffee or milked/soda/syrup) more than once a day, while 15 percent of children consumed fresh fruit and raw vegetables more than once a day. Students living in urban areas had higher scores in diet-related behavior (18.3 ± 5.4 vs. 16.1 ± 6.4, P < 0.001). The mean scores in Tehran (the Capital of Iran) was significantly higher than other urban areas. In rural areas, the mean scores of villages in Esfahan province, Iran, were higher than other villages. Children whose mothers were employed, and had higher education had significantly higher scores (P = 0.030 and P = 0.012, respectively). Sex and fathers’ education and job had no significant association with diet-related behavior.CONCLUSION: The results showed that dietary patterns was not satisfactory, and the level of consumption of cariogenic foods was high. Study findings recommend that school-based oral health programs should be designed for modifying the dietary habits in Iran.


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