Objectives: The present epidemiological study aimed to compare the prevalence and severity of developmental defects of enamel (DDE) and dental caries between urban and suburban Chinese preschool children. Methods: A total of 1351 3- to 6-year-old children were invited to participate in this study and received dental examinations. A modified DDE index was used to assess the prevalence and severity of DDE. The dental caries diagnosis was based on the World Health Organization (WHO) health survey methods for field studies and was recorded using the decayed, missing and filled tooth (dmft) index. The caries status was further classified as caries or severe caries according to a modification of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry definition. Results: Overall, the DDE prevalence was 48.3% among the 1351 preschool children. The DDE prevalence was higher in innercity children (54.1%) than in suburban children (42.0%; P < 0.001). In contrast, the suburban children had a higher prevalence of dental caries (65.2% vs 57.5%; P = 0.004) and a higher mean dmft score (3.5 ± 4.2 vs 2.9 ± 3.8; P = 0.005) than the innercity children. Only 23.9% of the children were free of both DDE and caries. The caries risk increased significantly and independently as DDE severity increased (linear trend, 95% confidence interval = [1.32, 1.69], age [1.60, 1.88], urban residence [1.18, 2.15] and breastfeeding experience [1.04, 1.60]) after controlling for other demographic risk factors. Conclusions: The study provides new evidence that DDE is a significant contributing factor for the highly prevalent and progressive dental caries observed in Chinese preschool children. These results highlight the importance of including DDE in caries risk assessments.
- dental caries
- developmental defect of enamel
- preschool children
- risk assessments
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health