Objective: To investigate the relationship between the presence of demarcated opacities and hypoplasia on permanent teeth and the caries status of the primary predecessor teeth in a cohort of Chinese children. Methods: The study sample consisted of 250 children living in a non-fluoridated area in Southern China whose caries status of primary teeth at the age of 3–6 years had been recorded annually in a previous study. A follow-up examination of their permanent teeth was conducted when they were about 12 years old. The presence of enamel defects was determined by consensus of 2 dentists according to the modified DDE index. Results: 56.8% of the 250 children examined had demarcated opacities, while 10.8% of them had hypoplasia. Demarcated opacities and hypoplasia were found in 5.8 and 1.3% of the teeth examined, respectively. A higher prevalence of demarcated opacities was found in those permanent teeth of which their primary predecessor teeth had caries than in those without (7.5 vs. 3.8%, p < 0.001). A similar finding was obtained for the prevalence of hypoplasia (1.9 vs. 0.4%, p < 0.001). Conclusion: There was an association between caries in primary teeth and the presence of demarcated opacities and hypoplasia in their permanent successors.

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