Objective: To investigate the prevalence and incidence of dental erosion in children and adolescents.
Methods: Lesions were registered for all tooth surfaces of primary and permanent teeth using pre-orthodontic study models. A total of 1,000 individuals (mean age 11.4+/-3.3 years) were included; 265 of them were followed over a 5-year period using their final orthodontic casts.
Results: In the primary teeth, 26.4% of the individuals had no erosive lesions, 70.6% had at least one tooth with grade 1 erosion and 26.4% had grade 2 erosion. Grade 1 erosion was found in 44% of the occlusal surfaces of molars (36% of the incisal surfaces of the canines) and grade 2 erosion in 11% (9%). Lesions affecting oral or vestibular surfaces were negligible. In the permanent teeth, 11.6% of individuals had at least one tooth with grade 1 erosion but only 0.2% had at least one tooth with grade 2 erosion. The most affected teeth were the mandibular first molars (7% with grade 1 lesions). Lesions affecting oral or vestibular surfaces were negligible. Mandibular first molars were identified as possible marker teeth for the onset of erosive lesions. Within the last two decades, the percentage of subjects with at least one tooth with a grade 1 or 2 erosive lesion significantly increased for primary and with grade 1 for permanent teeth (P< or =0.001). The longitudinal observation revealed that subjects with erosive lesions in their primary dentition had a significantly increased risk for erosion in their permanent teeth (P< or =0.001).
Conclusion: In Germany, dental erosion seems to be a significant, but not a serious, problem for dental health in adolescents.