Research on the association between dental caries and body mass index (BMI) in children has shown contradictory results; thus we aimed to examine the association between dental caries and the full range of BMI classes among children. We comprehensively searched PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library for studies published prior to March 2017. Articles comparing dental caries among the full range of BMI classes for children below 18 years of both genders were included. Fourteen studies were eligible for this study. Basic information - i.e., first author, published year, study design, country, sample size, age, type of dental caries index and BMI, main results and conclusions, and means and standard deviations of the dental caries indexes used - was pooled. The weighted mean differences and corresponding 95% confidence intervals for dental caries between children with abnormal weight and those with normal weight were analyzed. Generally, no significant differences in caries were found between any abnormal-weight group and the normal-weight group for both primary and permanent teeth. Sensitivity analyses showed that the obese group had more caries than the normal-weight group in their primary teeth. Significantly more caries was found among the overweight and obese children in both primary and permanent teeth in high-income countries, but not in low- and middle-income countries. We recommend that further studies use suitable sample sizes, unify the criteria for BMI categorization and the dental caries index, and investigate the confounding factors that might influence dental caries and BMI.

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