Prevention of dental caries by eating vegetables at the beginning of a meal in Japanese children
K Ito, A Isumi, S Doi, M Ochi, T Fujiwara
European Journal of Public Health
Backgrounds Dental caries is still a worldwide serious problem among children. Previous studies showed that higher consumption of vegetables prevents dental caries. Eating order habits, such as eating vegetables at the beginning of a meal, called "Vege-first", may increase the amount of vegetable consumption, and in turn, prevent dental caries. We used cross-sectional data in our previous study to show the association between "Vege-first" and dental caries. However, the causal relationship of
... ege-first" on dental caries is not clear. The aim of this study to investigate the effect of "Vege-first" on dental caries, using cohort data of Japanese elementary students. Methods We used cohort data from 2015 to 2016 by the Adachi Child Health Impact of Living Difficulty (A-CHILD) study, a population-based study of all first- and Second- grade students in Adachi City, Tokyo, Japan. The number of DMFT (decayed, missed due to decay, and filled teeth) in 2016 was used as an outcome. Poisson regression analyses were applied to determine the independent association between keeping the "Vege-first" habit over one year and the number of DMFT in 2016 after controlling for the effects of a child's sex, parental marital status, socioeconomic status, and child's dental caries status in 2015. Results Of 3,164 valid participants, 45.0% had dental caries and 6.3% kept the "Vege-first" habit. Children who kept the "Vege-first" habit had fewer DMFTs in 2016 than children who did not (p < 0.001). After controlled for covariates, children with having a continuous "Vege-first" habit were still significantly and independently decreased the number of DMFT in 2016 (Incidence-rate ratios=0.87 (95% confidential interval [0.75-0.98])). Conclusions This study showed that having the continuous "Vege-first" habit was associated with preventive dental caries even after accounting for socioeconomic status. Health policy introducing the "Vege-first" habit may be effective to prevent pediatric dental caries. Key messages The practice of eating vegetables at the beginning of a meal, called "Vege-first" may increase vegetable consumption and reduce dental caries. The continuous habit of 'Vege-first' was effective in preventing a child's dental caries even if after accounting for socioeconomic status.