Fluoride Action Network


Despite improvement, dental caries is still the main public oral health problem worldwide and the major cause of pain, tooth loss and chewing difficulties in children and adolescents; and it impacts negatively on oral health-related quality of life. A cross-sectional study of a multistage representative sample of 8-12-year-old Brazilian school children was carried out in order to investigate the association between enamel defects and dental caries. Children’s mothers completed a questionnaire about socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics at home. Firth’s bias reduced logistic regression models were undertaken to assess the association between the main exposure (enamel defects) and caries experience. The prevalence of any enamel defect was 64.0%; the prevalence of diffuse opacities, demarcated opacities and enamel hypoplasia was 35.0%, 29.5% and 3.7%, respectively. The prevalence of dental caries was 32.4%, with mean DMFT of 0.6 (SD, 1.2). Dental caries experience was more common among children who had enamel hypoplasia in their posterior teeth (OR=2.79; 95% CI: 1.05, 6.51) than among those with none. In anterior teeth, there was no association. Enamel hypoplasia appears to be an important risk factor for dental caries.