Background: Developmental defects of enamel (DDEs) and dental caries are two prevalent dental conditions that may have major negative impacts on children’s quality of life. Fluoride, especially the level of fluoride in water, can influence the occurrence of both dental caries and DDEs. However, data on the extent of this influence on Iranian children has not been explored.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare DDEs and dental caries in three areas with different levels of fluoride in water among 9-year-old children of the Fars Province, Iran, in order to provide data for oral health preventive programs.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 400 9-year-old children residing in areas with high, optimal and low levels of fluoride in water of the Fars Province, Iran. Cases with DDE were diagnosed on the standardized one view photographs of the anterior teeth using the modified DDE index. DMFT index was used to evaluate dental caries. The prevalence of children with DDE and dental caries, the mean number of teeth with DDE, and mean DMFT were compared among the three areas by binary logistic and Poisson regressions after adjustment for sex. SPSS software version 22 was used to analyze the data. The significance level was set at α = 0.05.
Results: The overall prevalence of DDE was 59.9% with the mean number of teeth with DDE of 1.59 ± 1.97. The most prevalent type of DDE in all three areas was diffuse opacities (35.5%). The overall prevalence of children with dental caries in permanent teeth was 25.6% with the mean DMFT of 0.67 ± 1.187. The percentage of children with untreated caries in permanent dentition was 73.98%. It was found that 24.3% of permanent first molars were affected by caries. The higher level of fluoride was significantly associated with more DDEs and less DMFT.
Conclusions: When planning for oral health care services, it should be noticed that a considerable number of Iranian children in the Fars Province are affected by dental caries and DDEs, which their occurrences have been affected by the level of fluoride in water.