199315 Concentration of Fluoride in Drinking Water Samples from Three Rural Villages in the Millennium Villages Project

Monday, November 9, 2009

Peggy Timothe, DDS, MPH , Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
Introduction: Fluoride, a naturally occurring element in land and water, when used appropriately greatly reduces the risk of dental caries. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended level in drinking water is 1.5mg/l. Sub-Saharan Africa has had reported naturally occurring fluoride as high as 11.6mg/l.

Methods: The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) applies agriculture, economic development, education, infrastructure, health and nutrition interventions, at the village level, to transition Sub-Saharan Africa from extreme poverty. Drinking water samples were taken from three MVP villages- Koraro, Ethiopia, Potou, Senegal and Mbola, Tanzania. Samples were collected, each in clean and dry, plastic bottle (60 ml) with a screw cap. The location, source (well, spring, river stream), and date of collection were recorded. Samples were analyzed in the USA for fluoride and other mineral content. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Columbia University.

Results: The mean fluoride concentration in the villages of Senegal, Tanzania, and Ethiopia were .094mg/L, .22mg/L, and .65 mg/ L (.57) respectively; with Koraro, Ethiopia showing widest range of variation. Selected test parameters, namely sodium, were notably elevated in Potou, Senegal.

Conclusion: In many communities where dentifrice is not commonly used the primary source of fluoride is drinking water. Few of our samples were within a range for therapeutic effect of ingested fluorides. Our findings varied but were generally inadequate for dental caries prevention. Thus, the MVP should consider topical fluoride modalities in low cost community-based oral health programs in comprehensive plan to improve the general health of the community.

Learning Objectives:
1) To report the fluoride content of drinking water samples from villages in the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania. 2) To evaluate baseline measures of systemic fluoride in order to plan for oral health prevention programs 3) To discuss basic indicators for community-based oral health prevention

Keywords: Community Health Planning, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was one of the project leader and my responsibilities included coordination of water samples collection, reviewing the findings, compiling the tables, and writing this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.