• Tooth wear;
  • tooth erosion;
  • epidemiology;
  • prevalence;
  • cross-sectional studies

Background: The prevalence and severity of tooth wear and dental erosion is rising in children and there is no consensus about an index to be employed. Aim: To assess the reliability of an epidemiological scoring system dental wear index (DWI) to measure tooth wear and dental erosive wear. Design: An epidemiological cross-sectional survey was conducted to evaluate and compare tooth wear and dental erosion using the dental wear index and erosion wear index (EWI). The study was conducted with randomised samples of 2,371 children aged between 4 years and 12 years selected from the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Records were used for calculating tooth wear and dental erosion; the incisal edge and canine cusp were excluded. Results: As the schoolchildren's ages increased the severity of primary tooth wear increased in canines (= 0.0001, OR = 0.34) and molars (P = 0.0001, OR = 2.47) and erosion wear increased in incisal/occlusal (P = 0.0001, OR = 5.18) and molars (P = 0.0001, OR = 2.47). There was an increased prevalence of wear in the permanent teeth of older schoolchildren, particularly on the incisal/occlusal surfaces (P = 0.0001, OR = 7.03). Conclusion: The prevalence of tooth wear and dental erosion increased as age increased in children. The epidemiological scoring system Dental Wear Index is able to measure both tooth wear and dental erosive wear. This index should be used to monitor the progression of non-carious lesions and to evaluate the levels of disease in the population.