Objectives: To establish the prevalence of erosion in a cluster random sample of 14- year-olds in Birmingham UK. To determine whether socioeconomic group influences the prevalence of erosion.
Methods: The study group consisted of a cluster random sample of 14-year-old school children in Birmingham UK: 418 children were examined from 12 different schools; 209 were male and 209 female. The level of tooth wear was recorded using a modification of the (TWI) index of Smith and Knight (1984). The ACORN classification was used to assess the socioeconomic status of all children.
Results: Results showed that 48% of the children had low erosion, 51% had moderate erosion and only 1% had severe erosion. There were statistically significant differences between males and females; more males had buccal/labial and lingual/palatal tooth surface erosion than females (Chi-square analysis P < 0.001). There was also significantly more erosion observed in teenagers in the lowest socioeconomic categories.
Conclusion: It was concluded that moderate levels of dental erosion are common in 14-year-old school children and this may lead to increasing clinical problems. There was significantly more erosion in children from low socioeconomic groups. Possible aetiological factors need to be investigated further.