An epidemiological study of child health and nutrition in a northern Swedish county. VII. A comparative study of general and dental health, food habits and socio-economic conditions in 4-year-old children.
A study of the general and dental health and the food habits of randomly selected 4-year-old Swedish urban children was performed. The results were compared with the findings of an investigation carried out four years earlier in the same area. In comparison with the earlier study no significant differences were found in haemoglobin values, packed red cell volume, microsedimentation rate and anthropometric measurements. The food habits had altered. A reduction in the frequency of between-meal consumption, particularly of sweets and soft drinks, as well as a reduction of the frequency of meat, fish and egg consumption was found. The children had an increased sandwich and milk consumption. The caries frequency was markedly reduced, which might be explained by the decreased between-meal consumption and an increased consumption of fluoride tablets. The food habits and the caries situation were generally influenced by the parents' socio-economic conditions, especially their educational level.
The dental ages of 149 children born and grown up in a district with naturally occurring fluoride in the drinking water (maximum level 2.0 mg/l) were compared with those of 181 control children born and grown up in a neighbouring low-fluoride district (less than or equal to 0.1 mg/l). The children were 9--12 years old. In neither group did the dental ages prove to differ from normality. It is concluded that concentrations below the highest recommended level fluoride occurring naturally in the drinking water do not seem to have any long-term effect on the individual physiologic maturation, as judged from the dental age of the growing child.