Caries and fluorosis in the Santiago metropolitan region in Chile: The impact of the fluoridation of the water

  • Ismael Henry Yevenes Universidad de Chile
  • Gisela Carmen Zillmann University of Chile
  • Andrea Paulina Muñoz University of Chile
  • Waldo Aranda
  • Sonia Echeverría
  • José Hassi
  • Paula Maass
  • Marli Salazar
Keywords: Dental Caries, Dental Fluorosis, Cross-sectional study, Water fluoridation.


Purpose: To assess the damage and the prevalence of caries and fluorosis in children and adolescents in the metropolitan area after 8 years of drinking water fluoridation and to compare them with the baseline study. Methods: This was a prevalence study. The sample was selected using two-step probability sampling and stratified according to socioeconomic level. Subjects included 2,323 schoolchildren aged 6 to 8 years and 12 years living within the metropolitan region. The parents of all students provided consent and were previously included in the study. The subjects were clinically examined by calibrated dentists, who used World Health Organization (WHO) screening criteria and indicators to determine the presence of caries and dental fluorosis. Results: No cavity damage was found in 23.68% of the children. The average dmft was 3.18 for children aged 6 to 8 years. The DMFT was 0.59 in children aged 6 to 8 years and 2.6 in children 12 years compared with the baseline study. These differences were statistically significant. There were also significant differences in the DMFT index for each socioeconomic status group. The average number of dams was higher among children of low socioeconomic status. Of the studied children, 14.3% of children had dental fluorosis. Fluorosis was very mild in 12.35% of the cases, mild in 1.98% and moderate in 0.26%. There were no cases of severe fluorosis (classified according to Dean's index). Conclusion: We conclude that after 8 years drinking water fluoridation in the metropolitan area, the number of children with no history of caries has increased by approximately 100%. The number of cases significantly affected by caries has also decreased significantly. The incidence of dental fluorosis has increased, but to milder degrees.

Author Biographies

Ismael Henry Yevenes, Universidad de Chile
Buímico-Farmacéutico, Profesor Responsable de los cursos de Química Básica y Química Oral de la Facultad de Odontología de la Universidad de Chile. Investigador en las áreas de caries, fluoruro y colutorios antiplaca. Investigador Responsable para proyectos del Ministerio de Salud de Chile en Caries y Fluorosis y Excreción Urinaria de Fluoruros.
Gisela Carmen Zillmann, University of Chile
Department of Restorative Dentistry, Dental School, University of Chile. Associate Professor
Andrea Paulina Muñoz, University of Chile
Department of Restorative Dentistry, Dental School, University of Chile. Assistant Professor
Original Article