The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship of dental caries with anthropometric outcomes in 4- to 6-year-old children participating in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). The sample size was 1,910 children from the 4th and 5th KNHANES. The caries status was assessed with the decayed and filled teeth index in primary dentition (dft score). We employed height for age, body weight for age, and body mass index for age as outcome variables. Age, gender, region, and income were confounders. Nutritional deficiency as a mediator in the association between dental caries and delayed growth was also examined. A series of logistic regression analyses estimated the magnitude of association between dental caries and unfavorable growth after adjustment of the confounders and the mediator. Those with a high dft score were more likely to be deficient in nutrition (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.14-2.74). After adjusting for sociodemographic factors and nutritional deficiency, we also found that a high dft score was associated with low weight (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.15-2.51). The influence of dental caries on delayed growth was found in Korean representative children.

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