Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Access Restrictions


Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In


First Advisor

Holton, Nathan E

First Committee Member

Nicholas, Christina L

Second Committee Member

Southard, Thomas E

Third Committee Member

Marshall, Teresa A


Introduction: Prevalence of childhood obesity is at an all-time high. The effect of childhood obesity on dental development and eruption is a widespread topic today in the dental field. Several cross-sectional studies over the past decade have found an association between advanced dental development and eruption and childhood obesity. The purpose of this study is to examine the longitudinal relationship between childhood Body Mass Index (BMI), and the development of the permanent dentition. Methods: 76 subjects from a longitudinal dataset (Iowa Facial Growth Study 1946-1960) were selected to examine the relationship between BMI and dental development during childhood. Periapical and lateral cephalometric radiographs were used to provide a dental maturity score for each subject using the Demirjian et al. (1973) method at three separate time points (age 4, 8, and 12). BMI was calculated using subjects’ height and weight at each time point. Results: Children with higher BMI’s at all three time points (4, 8 and 12) tended to have advanced dental development compared to children who were of normal weight status. Children who were considered underweight (< 5th BMI percentile) were more likely to be dentally delayed. BMI at age 4 was predictive of dental development status at age 8 and 12. Conclusion: Our results add to the growing body of evidence that childhood obesity is associated with advanced dental development. This is important in the dental and orthodontic fields, as early eruption has been hypothesized to be associated with increased dental caries, crowding, and malocclusions.

Public Abstract

Childhood obesity rates in the United States have tripled since the 1970’s. There are many well-documented health consequences associated with childhood obesity, but one of the less well-known concerns is its effect on the development and eruption of the permanent teeth. The purpose of our current study was to examine the relationship between childhood obesity and the development of the permanent dentition. Understanding this relationship is important, as either a delay or acceleration in the development and eruption of the permanent dentition can affect the timing of orthodontic treatment, and may also lead to negative outcomes such as dental crowding and increased risk of dental cavities. To examine this topic, we looked at 77 different subjects, at three separate time points (4, 8 and 12 years of age). We used dental x-rays to evaluate the stage of dental development, and calculated their Body Mass Index using height and weight recorded at each of the time points. We found that children from our sample who were considered to be overweight or obese tended to develop their teeth at younger ages. We also found that children who were overweight or obese at age 4 were more likely to be dentally advanced at age 12. This is relevant for dentists and orthodontists as earlier oral exams should be performed on children in order to potentially intercept any problems caused by early eruption of the permanent teeth.


BMI, Tooth Development


vii, 42 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 37-42).


Copyright © 2017 Kevan Daniel Kadavy