OBJECTIVES: To assess the perceptions of and concerns regarding dental fluorosis among 12-15 year-old schoolchildren in an area where fluorosis is endemic and to find any association with Tooth Surface Index of Fluorosis (TSIF) scores. BASIC RESEARCH DESIGN: A cross sectional study.
PARTICIPANTS: 316 children aged 12-15 years with varying level of dental fluorosis selected from 696 children screened for fluorosis.
METHODS: The study was undertaken in three villages in rural Gadag, Karnataka, India, with fluoride levels in the drinking water ranging from 2.2 to 4.5 ppm as estimated by the SPADNS spectrophotometric method. Children’s fluorosis was assessed under natural lighting conditions on the labial surface of upper anterior teeth using the TSIF 8-point scale. A self-administered questionnaire assessed knowledge, perceptions and concerns. Data were analysed by frequency distributions and Spearman’s correlation coefficients.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Aesthetic perceptions and TSIF scores. RESULTS: The children were aware of the fluoride presence and its health effects. TSIF scores correlated with: the appearance of front teeth (r = 0.135, p = 0.015); feeling fluorosis would hinder smiling (r = 0.116, p = 0.040); feeling distress due to fluorosis (r = 0.111, p = 0.048).
CONCLUSION: Children were aware of fluoride and its health effects. They also perceived dental fluorosis as an aesthetic problem.