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Fluoride Exposure in Michigan Schoolchildren

Journal of Public Health Dentistry
Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)
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Recent trends in the prevalence of dental caries in children, as well as a possible increase in the prevalence of dental fluorosis, have prompted some researchers to suggest the reassessment of water fluoride concentration standards. Instead of reducing water fluoride concentrations, an alternative approach would be to limit the use of, or reduce the fluoride concentration of, dentifrices, mouthrinses, and supplements. Information about the use of these other sources of fluoride, however, is scarce. Using data from a 1987 survey of Michigan schoolchildren, exposure to selected fluoride sources as well as tooth brushing habits are described. Responses from questionnaires revealed that, overall, 98.5 percent of the children have used fluoride dentifrices, 27 percent have used topical fluoride rinses, 72.5 percent have had at least one exposure to professionally applied topical fluoride, and 27percent have used dietary fluoride supplements. Although the use of fluoride dietary supplements was appropriate for most children residing in fluoride-deficient Cadillac, the percentages of children in the other communities who have ingested these supplements suggest that these products are being prescribed improperly. Given the almost universal use of fluoride dentifrices at an early age, it may be time to investigate the use of reduced fluoride dentifrices for children. In addition, continuing efforts to decrease inappropriate dietary fluoride supplementation are required.

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