Aim: An epidemiological study was designed to determine the prevalence of enamel defects in first permanent molars in English children of ethnic backgrounds.
Materials and methods: A population of school children aged seven years, living in the low water fluoride City of Leeds (UK) were examined for the presence of developmental enamel defects in first permanent molars. The examination criteria were based on the DDE index for screening surveys. The ethnic background to the children examined was determined by school records, name and visual assessment.
Results: The results for 307 children (154 females) showed an overall prevalence of defective enamel in first permanent molars of 14.5% and tooth prevalence of 7.2%. There were effects of gender or tooth site. There was no significant difference in prevalence between White-Caucasian (17%) or Asian-Caucasian (10%) children. The demarcated opacity was the most frequent type of defect seen, followed by diffuse opacities and hypoplasia. The occlusal and buccal surfaces were the most commonly affected.
Conclusion: As there were no significant differences in prevalence between children of different ethnic groups it was concluded that the aetiology of enamel defects in permanent molars was most likely affecting all children.