An analysis of the association of diet, oral health and obesity in Canadian adults
University of New Brunswick
Dental professionals are in a unique position to promote healthy eating among their patients, which benefit an individual’s oral health. Dietary recommendations that support oral health are similar to recommendations to achieve healthy weights, thus dietary guidance by dental professionals could also impact an individual’s weight status. To date, this topic has received little attention in Canada. This research examined the association between diet, oral health and obesity in Canadian adults ages 20-79 using data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) Cycle 1 (2007-2009). The quantitative analysis, which used logistic regression and linear regression found that increased milk consumption was associated with positive oral health (p=0.04) and healthy weights (p=0.02). On the other hand, increased soft drink consumption was associated with having fewer than the recommended number of teeth (< 21 teeth) (p=0.04) and a reduced Modified Oral Health Score (p=0) but not associated with increased obesity. A number of sociodemographic factors were associated with better oral health and lower chances of obesity: university education, increasing age and province of residence for example, were positive for both. The results from this study suggest the value of using dental settings to promote healthy food intakes, which may benefit oral health and weight status; highlight the importance of addressing the oral health and weight status needs within certain sociodemographic groups; and suggest the need for further Canadian research.