Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of dental erosion in preschool children in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and to relate this to caries and rampant caries in the same children.
Methods: A sample of 987 children (2-5 years) was drawn from 17 kindergartens. Clinical examinations were carried out under standardised conditions by a trained and calibrated examiner (M.Al-M.). Measurement of erosion was confined to primary maxillary incisors and used a scoring system and criteria based on those used in the UK National Survey of Child Dental Health. Caries was diagnosed using BASCD criteria. Rampant caries was defined as caries affecting the smooth surfaces of two or more maxillary incisors.
Results: Of the 987 children, 309 (31%) had evidence of erosion. For 186 children this was confined to enamel but for 123 it involved dentine and/or pulp. Caries were diagnosed in 720 (73%) of the children and rampant caries in 336 (34%). The mean dmft for the 987 children was 4.80 (+/-4.87). Of the 384 children who had caries but not rampant caries, 141 (37%) had erosion, a significantly higher proportion than the 72 (27%) out of 267 who were clinically caries free (SND=2.61, P<0.01). Of the 336 with rampant caries, 96 (29%) also had evidence of erosion.
Conclusions: The level of erosion was similar to that seen in children of an equivalent age in the UK. Caries was a risk factor for erosion in this group of children.