Fluoride expert is on her way to Brazil in bid to improve child health

Public health expert Dr Vida Zohoori who is about to travel to Brazil as part of her research into the use of fluoride to prevent dental decay.

Public health expert Dr Vida Zohoori who is about to travel to Brazil as part of her research into the use of fluoride to prevent dental decay.

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Health & Education Editor

A NORTH-EAST expert on the use of fluoride to prevent dental decay is taking her research to Brazil.

Dr Vida Zohoori, a reader in oral public health and nutrition, says the gap between the recommended daily intake of fluoride in children to prevent tooth decay and the level which could cause tooth mottling is too narrow.

She is researching the intake and retention of fluoride in young children and babies to gain a better understanding of how to improve their oral health.

As part of her work, Dr Zohoori is leading a project looking at the retention of fluoride in babies living in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas in the North -East.

Next month she will be helping to run a four day workshop in Brazil to address priority research questions in fluoride metabolism research.

The aim is to find out more about both the benefits and side effects of fluoride intake.

“The research I am undertaking here and the work I am carrying out abroad is driven by a desire to improve oral health, especially in young children,” explained Dr Zohoori.

“Tooth decay is still one of the most globally prevalent chronic diseases of childhood and can have a detrimental effect on quality of life by affecting normal social roles, self-esteem, nutrition, communication and general health, causing pain, discomfort and loss of function.

“It also imposes a large financial burden on health care.”

Because fluoride has been identified as a key protective factor in the prevention of decay, many countries have based their oral health improvement strategies on the use of fluoride, such as fluoridated water, fluoridated milk, fluoridated salt and fluoridated toothpastes.

“The findings of our recent studies suggested that swallowing fluoridated toothpaste by children during toothbrushing rather than living in a fluoridated area might put a child at risk of overexposure or developing tooth mottling.

"The problem with fluoridated toothpaste is the amount of toothpaste used.”

In collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle University, Dr Zohoori has developed a unique database that lists the fluoride content of more than 500 separate food and beverage items.

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