Conference Paper

Video Gaming Teenagers: An Examination of Diet and Caries

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Video gaming is becoming increasingly popular among adolescents; the dietary habits and subsequent caries risk of gamers are unknown. We hypothesize that video gaming is associated with a cariogenic diet and a higher DMFT score. Objective: To characterize dietary habits, activity patterns and caries experience of adolescents. Methods: Potential subjects for this pilot study included all patients aged 12-16 years presenting for new or maintenance exams in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. Subjects were mailed and asked to return a survey prior to their dental appointment. The survey queried demographics, dietary habits, oral hygiene behaviors, activity habits and dietary habits during activities. The subjects' dental records were then examined. Results: Subjects (n=48) were 13.41.1 years old, 42% male and 73% Caucasian. Very active subjects reported eating healthier foods compared to less active subjects (81%vs 44%; p=0.017). Hours/day watching TV (r=0.35; p=0.017) and total screen time/day (r=0.35; p=0.016) were correlated with quantity of regular pop/sports drinks consumption. Subjects who ate or drank while playing video games played more hours/day than subjects who didn't eat or drink (1.50.6vs0.71.0 hours; p=0.019). Subjects who had parental rules regarding screen time were less likely to eat or drink while watching television/video games than subjects without parental rules (15%vs49%; p=0.049). Subjects with structured eating patterns were less likely to have caries than subjects with unstructured patterns (44%vs13%; p=0.049). Subjects with caries spent more time on the computer than subjects without caries (2.22.2vs1.02.1 hours; p=0.024), and had more total screen time than subjects without caries (6.33.7vs4.54.2 hours; p=0.045). Neither watching TV nor playing video games were associated with caries experience. Conclusion: Our pilot data suggest that potentially cariogenic dietary habits are associated with screen activities, and that computer and total screen times are associated with caries experience. Support: Iowa College of Dentistry Dental Research Award.

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