Risk factors and knowledge of dental fluorosis in three communities in the far north region of Cameroon
Ebot Etta, Barnabas
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BACKGROUND: Fluorine is an abundant trace element in the Earth’s crust. The presence of fluorine in bedrocks is the primary source fluoride in ground water, though fluoride occurrence varies with the different rock types. High concentrations of fluoride ions are found in regions of volcanic activities. Volcanoes are the main persistent natural source of fluoride in ground water and in the atmosphere. The occurrence of high concentrations of fluoride in ground water has been reported worldwide. Dental fluorosis is a developmental disturbance of enamel that results from ingestion of high amounts of fluoride during tooth mineralization. Consumption of untreated fluoridated ground water remains the main cause of dental fluorosis in rural settlements. AIM: To establish the risk factors and knowledge of dental fluorosis in three communities of the Far North Region of Cameroon. METHODOLOGY: This study was descriptive and cross-sectional study with an analytic component and was conducted in three communities in Far North Region of Cameroon. The study population was a convenience sample irrespective of age, but who must have been living in the selected study sites for a minimum of 6 to 8 years. Structured questionnaires were administered to elicit socio-demographic characteristics, perceptions dental fluorosis and oral health practices. Oral examination was conducted to determine the extent of dental fluorosis that was scored according to the Thylstrup and Fejerskov index. Participants declared their water sources and water samples were obtained from these sources. Samples of commercial bottled mineral water was purchased from various local outlets. These samples were sent to a certified laboratory for fluoride analysis and are reported in milligrams of fluoride per litre.