Thursday, April 3, 2008

Fat kids get fewer cavities

This is another "obesity paradox" that has doctors totally confused.
Fat kids have fewer cavities and healthier teeth than their thinner peers. Doctors don't understand how this can be happening, because "everyone knows" that fat kids are stuffing themselves with candy and all kinds of sugary snacks all the time (and of course, no thin kids do anything like that).
Children ages 6-18 who were considered overweight or at risk for becoming overweight showed a decreased risk of tooth decay compared to their normal-weight peers.

So what explanation are they grabbing at to explain this paradox?
"Our findings raise more questions than answers," Kopycka-Kedzierawski said. "For example, are overweight children eating foods higher in fat rather than cavity-causing sugars? Are their diets similar to normal weight peers but [perhaps they] lead more sedentary lifestyles? Research to analyze both diet and lifestyle is needed to better understand the results."

Hey, doctors, could it possibly be that fat kids are genetically predisposed to having better teeth, just like they're genetically predisposed to being fat, despite what they eat and how much they do/don't exercise? Could it possibly be that thinner kids are genetically predisposed to having bad teeth, just like they're genetically predisposed to be thin? Or, could it be that this is just another one of those things that you're going to have to scratch your heads over and never know the answer to, just like all the other obesity paradoxes out there. Not everything can be scientifically explained because no one has all the knowledge there is, and there is still so much that isn't known about how our bodies really work. You have a few glimmerings of comprehension, but the more you learn, you find out just how little you really know (at least, if you're smart you realize that).
Maybe it's because the parents of fat kids make them brush and floss more often than the parents of thin kids. Maybe the fat kids drink more fluoridated water (from the tap) and thin kids drink non-fluoridated bottled water (I don't know, is bottled water fluoridated?).
Are you so puzzled by this because it gives you one less reason to bully fat kids into losing weight? OMG, TEH FAT KIDZ aren't going to end up toothless before they die of TEHFATZ!!!
I see this as one more thing that shows being fat is not a bad thing. So let's see now....fat kids have fewer cavities, fat older adults are more likely to survive catastrophic illnesses, fat and fit adults are likely to live longer than their underweight/thinner and sedentary peers, and even the very fat don't die any sooner than so-called "normal" weight people. These things just have to be mortally chapping your asses, since you're all so invested in pushing the OMG OBESITY EPI-PANIC that is supposedly killing all us fatties at younger and younger ages (chaps your ass that we aren't dying off fast enough to keep from breeding more of us, isn't it?).
These supposed paradoxes, if they ever get to be wide-spread and well-known, are going to cut into your profit margins, big time, aren't they? If people ever figure out, like those of us in the FAM have, that diets/drugs/surgeries to get thin aren't necessary in order to live a satisfactory, fulfilling, happy life, y'all are going to be seriously out of business (and it can't happen too damned fucking soon for me).
Thanks to Rachel and her hubby for the link to the article : )


  1. Dentists are often idiots, and I've spent enough time in the chair to know what I'm talking about. They insisted my teeth were healthy despite that the roots were fused to the bones (thanks hypocalcemia) and causing me great pain and had been rotten all my life, despite that even with all the dental care possible my grandfather and mother both lost all their teeth by age 40 or so (ok, my grandfather had no dental care but he also NEVER got sugar, ever.)

    I brought my kids to a dentist after a mere couple of years when we weren't covered, and the dentist actually got pissy with me because my 16 year old daughter had like 15 cavities. I said she'd had them all fixed a mere two years ago and that in the meantime she brushed twice daily and flossed daily - that she also came from a long line of people with rotten teeth. HE DID NOT BELIEVE ME and ended up refusing to even treat them. My son, on the other hand, had far fewer cavities, despite the fact that he barely brushed and never flossed and drank lots of soda.

    Dentists are just as stupid about teeth and genetics as doctors are about fat. All that shit about candy - pffft. You inherit your teeth same as anything else; it takes time for sugar to turn into tooth-eating acid, and twice a day brushing and flossing would be enough if rotten teeth were merely caused by eating candy. Gah.

  2. Yeah, I have the same problems with my teeth that my dad had with his. Mine were aggravated by having 3 teeth knocked out when I was 19 and getting a partial plate (it was all I could afford at the time). The metal hooks ruined the teeth they hooked onto and I ended up with broken stubs for molars (the knocked out teeth were in front), so I had them all pulled and got an upper plate (and have never regretted it). My bottom teeth are the same way. Cavities that I've had filled, the fillings keep falling out, I get them fixed, the teeth break off. I can't convince a dentist to pull the fuckers and give me a lower plate, they insist that you should keep your natural teeth as long as you can. Sure, keep me coming back, year after year, replacing fillings that keep getting bigger and bigger in less and less tooth. So I said fuck it, I'll wait to go in now until my teeth are so bad that they don't have any choice, they'll have to pull them and give me a plate.
    For years and years, I brushed and flossed twice a day, and still my teeth are rotting out of my head. Now, I brush once a day and to hell with flossing. Both of my grandparents (dad's side) had false teeth in their 50's (I'm pretty sure they were in their 50's, I remember being little and grandma flipping her dentures at us kids), my dad got them in his 60's, so I figure I've inherited their bad teeth. Shit happens.

  3. I'm not a doctor (and I don't play one on TV) but I think that possibly part of the answer for why fatter kids have better teeth might be BECAUSE they eat more -- not in spite of. More nutrients or something? I think these people are (as usual, in my opinion) looking at this from a biased place. "What!? Fat people may be healthier in some way?!!? But we all KNOW they are ALL literally knocking on DEATH'S DOOR AT ALL TIMES!! Give me that pie chart! There must be some problems with the data!"

    And really, does it even matter what the results actually say? Why compare the dental health of fat and thin kids unless you're already looking for another reason to say "fat = bad"? The opening words of the article are "Flying in the face of conventional wisdom..." Why is that conventional wisdom, exactly? Personally, I have never ever been under the impression that ALL fat kids slug down cherry colas like they're going out of style. Pop does not a fat kid make, you know. Neither do Big Macs or milkshakes or honey baked ham since not ALL fat kids eat those things and some rarely if ever eat those things and some thin kids eat even more of those things than their fat counterparts. You'd think that scientists and doctors of all people would be aware of that being that they're...scientists. And doctors. But most of them are only looking for research that supports their predetermined findings of "Fat equals bad no matter what!" and whenever a study shows something that "flies in the face" of those predetermined findings, everyone is SHOCKED and AMAZED and pretty much POSITIVE that there MUST be something to explain this as an anomaly and CLUELESS for an explanation since there's no possible way this could be even a little bit true.

  4. I was thinking the same thing, oceans - as I've been thinking more and more of late, that when it comes to nutrition more is better than less. And this may be an example of that.

  5. Hey, you're right. Why DID this "fly in the face" of anything? Why did they go into it *expecting* the opposite results - on what basis? Wow, that's more messed up than I thought. Scientists, eh?

  6. Wow, that's a statistic I fit into perfectly...I'm shocked. I was a fat kid, my parents were diligent about my oral health because they both have bad teeth due to lack of food and proper dental care when they were young (both my parents were depression babies), but my grandmother had good teeth and still had all of her own teeth when she was killed in a car accident at age 82. I didn't get my first and only cavity until I was 30.

    I inherited my grandmother's awesome teeth genes, had adequate nutrition growing up (and I ate my fair share of sweets as a child), and regular dental care including fluoride treatments. I'm sure that all of those things together gave me the awesome set of healthy chompers that I have today. I'm sure that genes played a big part here. I'm also sure that my mother inherited those same genes, but growing up during lean times with a lack of dental care left her with huge dental bills later in life as she tried to hold on to the teeth that she had no matter how damaged they were.

  7. The answer to this result has to do with how often they eat not how much, fatter people tend to eat more at one meal than skinner people but less often, and skinner people tend to eat less food but more often thus keeping their metabolism burning where the fatter people have more food to store as fat. The Ph in a fat person's mouth has more time to get back to normal in the absence of a continuos food source between meals which allows time for the teeth to get back to full strength where the skinner person doesn't give their teeth time to return to normal thus eventually destroying their teeth. I could take one person and let them drink a 2 liter all at once and they wouldn't get any cavities and I could take another and let them take a sip of soda every 20 minutes and actually drink less soda over a 24 hour period and they would be covered up in cavities in under 6 months. Cavities are caused by the amount of time the teeth are exposed to the acid and the cavities are prevented by the amount of time your teeth are exposed to your saliva. Decay doesn't exist outside the human diet, humans and the animals we feed are the only animals on the planet that get cavities. So eat a balanced meal and drink water between your meals and remember even Scope has food in it, and decay will be history for you just like the fat kids.

    Hope this helps,

    Your resident idiot dentist

  8. I'm not so sure I agree with you, docathelake. I'm fat, I don't eat a lot at meals, and I don't eat all that often, so why are my teeth so bad? I ended up having to have what was left of my top teeth pulled because the partial plate I had eroded my molars to nothing and I ended up with nothing to hook a partial to (I now have an upper denture, and I don't need to use anything to get it to stay in place either). My bottom teeth, what's left of them, are the pits, in spite of brushing and flossing. I would love to find a dentist willing to pull the damned things and give me a bottom denture as well. I still think genetics has a lot to do with how good your teeth are, and while brushing and flossing helps, it's not going to prevent everything if you don't have the genetics for good teeth to begin with. Diet doesn't have a whole hell of a lot to do with it either, because not everyone eats exactly the same way, and your generalities on how fat people eat and how thin people are are stereotypes that don't hold true for individuals, or even for groups of people.

  9. Sorry, Mr. Dentist; apparently I must be a freak of nature to have had so very many dentists in my life, and so many of them really...idiotic. Just my luck I guess, like my bad luck in having horrible teeth genes. Like my kids' bad luck in having inherited (at least my daughter) my weak teeth. Believe me, I didn't make the pronouncement lightly - hell no. If I went into all of why I said it, it would take all day, but trust me; I've been incredibly unlucky in getting decent dentists. Only one stands out, and I'll never forget him. Though unfortunately I'll never forget many of the others either.

    I can't agree with your assessment because there's really no evidence whatsoever that there's any commonality (beyond the 77% that is genetic) in why people are fat. Nothing except for the uncommon cases of binging disorder to account for the few who got fat by overeating. Eating habits are way too diverse to account for teeth that way. It just...doesn't hold up to any scrutiny.

    Having said all that, would you be willing to answer a dental related question that has nothing to do with fat or dentist-bashing? :) (Seriously.)


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