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21-05-2013 | Paediatrics | Article

Citrus consumption linked to childhood tooth wear


Free abstract

medwireNews: Parents should be warned about the impact of diet on teeth, say Australian researchers who found at least one in six children show signs of tooth wear.

In a study of 350 children aged 6 to 12 years old, parents reported that 17% of children had been diagnosed by their dentist as having tooth wear and 33% were aware of tooth grinding by their child.

Moreover, when 154 of the children underwent dental examination, tooth wear was detected in 66% of children, including 32% of primary teeth and 5% of permanent teeth studied.

Molars (45%) were the most commonly affected primary teeth, whereas maxillary incisors were the most commonly affected permanent teeth (82%).

"Tooth wear appeared under-reported," say Louise Brearley Messer and A Fung, from the University of Melbourne in Victoria, noting that only 14% of these parents were aware their child had dental wear.

Multivariate analysis of medical and dental records, diet, and oral hygiene practices showed that parent-reported tooth wear was significantly associated with male child gender (odds ratio [OR]=2.8), medical conditions (OR=2.5), tooth grinding (OR=5.3), use of mouth wash at least once a day (OR=4.4 vs 1-2 times per week).

Tooth wear reported by parents was also significantly predicted by weekday consumption of 2-4 cups per day of fruit juice (OR=3.2 vs never) or soft drinks (OR=9.5 vs never), as well as daily portions of citrus-flavored sweets (OR=5.1 vs 1-2 per week) and eating citrus fruit once or twice a week (OR=4.3 vs never).

Drinking 2-4 cups per day of fruit juice on weekdays was another significant risk factor for dental wear observed at examination (OR=4.0 vs one cup), the researchers say.

Writing in the Australian Dental Journal, the researchers recommend that clinicians should be trained to diagnose tooth wear and be alert to childhood risk factors so that tooth wear can be detected in primary teeth and addressed before it affects permanent teeth.

"Parental education is needed regarding potentially erosive foods and drinks; while citrus fruit intake should meet recommended nutritional guidelines, parents should be warned high intake may increase [tooth wear] risk," they continue.

"Intake of potentially erosive items should be limited as daily consumption of 2-4 cups of soft drink or fruit juice can increase [tooth wear] risk."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Lynda Williams, Senior medwireNews Reporter