Online Program

Acceptability of fluoridated salt in a rural Latino community in California

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Claudia Guerra, MSW, Dept Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences and Center to Address Children's Oral Health Disparities, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Judy Gonzalez-Vargas, BS, Center to Address Children's Oral Health Disparities, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Kristin S. Hoeft, PhD, Department of Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences; Department of Pediatrics, University of California- San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Judith C. Barker, PhD, Departments of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine; Associate Director, Center to Address Children’s Oral Health Disparities, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Objective: To assess acceptability of salt fluoridation in a representative farmworker community in California's Central Valley without access to fluoridated municipal drinking water, and limited access to oral health education and dental care. Methods: Qualitative in-depth interviews (N=30) and five focus groups (N=40) were conducted in Spanish with Latino women and men. Topics included participants' knowledge of fluoride and the acceptability of fluoridated salt (NaF) as a preventive for dental caries. Audio recordings were translated to English, transcribed, and text data coded for emerging themes. Results: Salt (NaCl) was very present in multiple aspects of family and work life. Fluoride was often confused with iodine in salt. Aside from knowing fluoride was in toothpaste, most participants were unaware of its value in dental caries prevention. Before using NaF in their daily lives, the majority indicated they would first need to know and evaluate information about what fluoride is, what it does, how it tastes, its cost and benefits, as well as potential harms. On being given this information, participants deemed it acceptable. Most said they would be willing to try NaF including for their children. Dentists and health educators would be the most trusted information sources. Asked if fluoridated salt would alter their daily salt intake, participants expressed doubts because “salt is salt,” and taste governs the quantity they consume. Conclusions: Salt fluoridation as a caries preventive would be acceptable to high-risk rural Hispanic populations if trustworthy information about its properties and benefits were available.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss reasons why rural Latino communities might resist accepting fluordiated salt as a caries preventive Identify one way in which this resistance could be addressed

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a principal investigator on multiple fedeally funded projects focussing on health disparitites and chronic illnesses, including oral health conditions. I designed this study, obtained funding, trained and oversaw work of field resarchers, developed coodes and engaged in textual data analysis and writing
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.