Skipping breakfast leads to cavities in kids

February 4, 2004 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Skipping breakfast leads to cavities in kids

Skipping breakfast appears to increase the risk of cavities in young children, new research reports. U.S. investigators found that children between the ages of 2 and 5 who didn't eat breakfast every day were almost 4 times more likely to develop tooth decay in their baby teeth than kids who never skipped the morning meal.

Tots were also more than 3 times more likely to show signs of cavities if they opted out of their daily five servings of fruit and vegetables. Previous research has shown that children who are poor are more likely to have untreated cavities than other children. But in the latest Journal of the American Dental Association, youngsters who were not poor but skipped breakfast and their daily ration of fruits and vegetables were more likely to have cavities than poor children.

During the study, the research team reviewed nationwide health information collected from more than 4,000 children between 1988 and 1994. Only 23 percent of kids who ate breakfast every day had a history of cavities, relative to 34 percent of kids who skipped the morning meal. A history of cavities was seen in only 18 percent of kids who downed at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but in 26 percent of kids who ate fewer servings.

Previous research has shown that teens who skip their morning meal are more likely to eat snacks during the day that tend to be high in sugar. The same tendency may occur in young children. Additionally, calcium helps protect teeth from cavities, and milk with cereal - often fortified with calcium - provides a good dose of the mineral. Kids who eat more fruits and vegetables may simply have a healthier diet overall, and those who get less than five servings per day might be substituting sugar for salad.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.