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Xjenza Online Vol. 5 Iss. 2 - December 2017
Erosive Tooth Wear in Children and Adolescents

Authors: Gabriella Gatt, Miriam Schembri, Paula Vassallo, Maria Luisa Gainza-Cirauqui, Ethel Vento Zahra, Nikolai Attard

Corresponding: Gabriella Gatt (

Keywords: Dental erosion, children, prevalence, demographic factors


Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 5 Iss. 2 - December 2017

To determine the local prevalence of erosive tooth wear in the child population and to identify the degree to which local demographic and socioeconomic factors influence prevalence, a multi-stage cluster sample of three, five, eight, twelve and fifteenyear old Maltese school children were identified. The children were clinically examined under standardised conditions and provided a questionnaire to be filled directly (twelve and fifteen-year-olds) or by the parents/ legal guardians (three, five and eight-year-olds). A total of 2508 children were examined. Of these, 232 three-year-old, 338 five-year-old children, 337 eightyear- old children, 642 twelve-year-old children and 560 fifteen-year-old children returned a questionnaire and were analysed. The prevalence of erosive tooth wear was > 70% in all age cohorts. Erosion experience also increased in both extent and severity with age in each dentition. Significant higher incidences were observed in eight-year old males, eight-year old overweight children, eight and fifteen-year-olds attending public schools, locality (Gozo > Malta), history of vomiting in fifteen-year olds, and children from lower socioeconomic parental status in five, eight and fifteen-year-olds. The prevalence of erosive tooth wear is high in school aged Maltese children. This easily preventable tooth condition deserves targeted public health programmes to improve the oral health of future generations.