Association between Developmental Defects of Enamel and Different Concentrations of Fluoride in the Public Water Supply
Objectives: To compare the prevalence and severity of developmental defects of enamel (DDE) among subjects whose maxillary incisors developed during periods with different concentrations of fluoride in the public water supply. Methods: Standardized intra-oral photographs of random samples of 12-year-old children were collected in 1983, 1991 and 2001 (n = 1,990) in Hong Kong and assessed for DDE by a trained masked examiner. The fluoride concentrations in the public water supply at the times when the enamel on their maxillary incisors developed were 1.0, 0.7 and 0.5 ppm, respectively. Results:The mouth prevalence of DDE for these children (based on the maxillary incisors) were 92.1, 55.8 and 35.2% in the years 1983, 1991 and 2001, respectively (p < 0.001). Most of these children were affected by diffuse opacities (89.3% in 1983, 48.5% in 1991 and 32.4% in 2001, p < 0.001). Marked differences in the mean number of teeth affected by DDE (p < 0.001) and in the maximum extent of DDE (p ≦ 0.002) between 1983, 1991 and 2001 were also observed. Conclusions: A decrease in the prevalence and severity of DDE among the maxillary incisor teeth of the children corresponded to the reductions in the concentration of fluoride in the water during the time of enamel development.