No response to initiatives to tackle fluorosis

No response to initiatives to tackle fluorosis

A boy from Pavagada affected by dental fluorosis.

A four-year-long campaign for prevention of Pavagada fluorosis, launched by Team Fluoride, an expert team of Nitte Deemed to be University, has not received any response from the government so far.

“Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in a letter dated August 25, 2014, had congratulated Team Fluoride for mapping fluoride concentration in all the districts, including in Pavagada taluk in Tumkur district. The chief minister who had advised the team to come out with concrete solutions, however, chose not to respond to our dozens of letters on the cost-effective Pavagada protocol for prevention of Pavagada fluorosis,’’ Team Fluoride Leader Prof Chitta Chowdhury, who is also the founding head of Oral Biology and Genomic Studies, AB Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences (ABSMIDS), said.

Women wait to collect water from a de-fluoridation plant at a village in Pavagada taluk. Only two to three of the nearly 18 such plants (each installed at a cost of Rs 10.5 lakh) are functioning, according to a study by Team Fluoride.

Prof Chitta said Team Fluoride, in collaboration with Swami Vivekananda Integrated Rural Health Care Centre in Pavagada, had drafted a ‘Pavagada model’ that included a cost-effective treatment protocol that could be replicated in many fluorosis endemic areas spread across the country. Among the many initiatives, the guidelines for fluoride prescription of fluoride toothpaste came in for praise from many quarters including Indian Academic of Oral Biology (IAOB)-- a registered society to help develop research policy and action programmes.

“The guidelines advised dental doctors not to prescribe fluoride toothpaste if a child has dental caries and fluorosis. Practising dentists can prescribe non-fluoride or very low fluoride-containing toothpaste to such children,” he said.

Team Fluoride’s evidence-based study fluoride concentration in Karnataka, published in a UK-based peer-reviewed journal titled ‘Perspective in Public Health’, had attracted the attention of Professor Edward Lynch of Las Vegas University School of Dental Medicine.  “Since then, Prof Lynch is involved in the prevention of Pavagada fluorosis as well,” Prof Chitta said.

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