Deciduous enamel defects and caries susceptibility in a prehistoric ohio population



Clinical studies of the relationship between developmental enamel defects and caries susceptibility have often produced conflicting results. This has been due in part to a failure to distinguish between different types of defects. Studies of this association in prehistoric populations have been rare. The complete deciduous dentitions of 57 subadults from the Libben site, a large Late Woodland cemetery in Ottawa County, Ohio, were selected for analysis. Defects were classified as either hypoplasias (deficiencies in matrix apposition) or hypocalcifications (deficiencies in mineralization) and were graded for severity. The presence or absence of carious lesions was recorded for each tooth. Result indicate a strong positive relationship between hypocalcifications and caries susceptibility. The elevated caries susceptibility of hypocalcified teeth may be related to high levels of magnesium or altered enamel microcrystallite orientation within these teeth. Variations in the frequency of hypocalcification may partially explain defferences in caries rates that have been observed in different prehistoric populations.