Dental fluorosis and dental caries prevalence among 12 and 15 year old school children in Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh, India
Background: Fluoride is a double edged sword. The assessment of dental caries and fluorosis in endemic fluoride areas will facilitate in assessing the relation between fluoride concentrations in water with dental caries, dental fluorosis simultaneously.
Aim: The objective of the following study is to assess the dental caries and dental fluorosis prevalence among 12 and 15‑year‑old school children in Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Subjects and Methods: This was a cross‑sectional study. Two stage cluster sampling technique was employed to select 20 schools from Nalgonda district. The oral examination of available 12 and 15‑year‑old children fulfilling the inclusion and exclusion criteria was carried out to assess dental caries and fluorosis. The examination was conducted by a single trained and calibrated examiner using the mouth mirror and community periodontal index probe under natural daylight. These areas were divided into four categories, low, medium, high and very high fluoride areas based on the fluoride concentration at the time of statistical analysis. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 16 (IBM, Chicago, USA).
Results: The caries prevalence was less among 12‑year‑old children (39.9% [369/924]) compared with 15‑years‑old children (46.7% [444/951]). The prevalence was more among females (50.4% [492/977]) than males (35.8% [321/898]). The prevalence was more in low fluoride area (60.5% [300/496]) followed by very high fluoride area (54.8% [201/367]), high fluoride area (32.4% [293/904]) and medium fluoride area (17.6% [19/108]) in the descending order. The fluorosis prevalence increased with increasing fluoride concentration with no difference in gender and age distribution.
Conclusion: Low fluoride areas require fluoridation or alternate sources of fluoride, whereas high fluoride areas require defluoridation. Defluoridation of water is an immediate requirement in areas with fluoride concentration of 4 parts per million and above as dental fluorosis is a public health problem in these areas with 100% prevalence.
Keywords: Defluoridation, Dental caries, Dental fluorosis, Endemic fluoride area, Prevalence