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Dent. J. 2017, 5(3), 25;

Weight Status and Dental Problems in Early Childhood: Classification Tree Analysis of a National Cohort

Division of Restorative Dentistry & Periodontology, Dublin Dental University Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
UCD Institute of Food and Health, 2.05 Science Centre, South, UCD, Belfield, Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 July 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
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A poor quality diet may be a common risk factor for both obesity and dental problems such as caries. The aim of this paper is to use classification tree analysis (CTA) to identify predictors of dental problems in a nationally representative cohort of Irish pre-school children. CTA was used to classify variables and describe interactions between multiple variables including socio-demographics, dietary intake, health-related behaviour, body mass index (BMI) and a dental problem. Data were derived from the second (2010/2011) wave of the ‘Growing Up in Ireland’ study (GUI) infant cohort at 3 years, n = 9793. The prevalence of dental problems was 5.0% (n = 493). The CTA model showed a sensitivity of 67% and specificity of 58.5% and overall correctly classified 59% of children. Ethnicity was the most significant predictor of dental problems followed by longstanding illness or disability, mother’s BMI and household income. The highest prevalence of dental problems was among children who were obese or underweight with a longstanding illness and an overweight mother. Frequency of intake of some foods showed interactions with the target variable. Results from this research highlight the interconnectedness of weight status, dental problems and general health and reinforce the importance of adopting a common risk factor approach when dealing with prevention of these diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: body mass index; diet; dental problem; classification tree body mass index; diet; dental problem; classification tree

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Crowe, M.; O’ Sullivan, M.; Cassetti, O.; O’ Sullivan, A. Weight Status and Dental Problems in Early Childhood: Classification Tree Analysis of a National Cohort. Dent. J. 2017, 5, 25.

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