Fluoride Levels of Major Sources of Drinking Water in Edo State of Nigeria
Fluorides are minerals found naturally in many foods and in most sources of drinking water, though in widely varying amounts. Fluoride is important in Dentistry because of its ability to inhibit cariogenic bacteria to produce acids and also strengthens the enamel thereby making the teeth generally more resistant to dental caries. The incidence of dental caries has increased in Nigeria today due to dietary changes and so it becomes important that means of enhancing resistance to tooth decay are put in place to check this down ward trend in oral health. This study was carried out on the major sources of drinking water in the Fourteen Local Government Areas [L.G.A] of Edo State. The calorimetric method of fluoride level determination in water was used. The fluoride level in all the water sample analyses ranged between 0.0ppm to 0.8ppm, which is below the upper limit of 1.5ppm to avoid unsightly fluorosis, [WHO 1984]. Therefore fluorosis is not likely to be a feature in the inhabitants of Edo State. The higher fluoride contents were predominantly associated with rocky or hilly areas, while the low fluoride content areas were mainly of the clay soil type. The fluoride level in most pasts of Edo State is below optimum level for caries prevention, which is estimated to be about 0.6ppm in the tropics. The use of fluoride tooth paste for all, the application of topical fluoride in the form of gel or rinse by Dentist or trained primary health workers is highly indicated in the rural areas in patients who are prone to dental caries. Water fluoridation is not feasible now in the rural areas, because of the present poor economic position of the country.
NQJHM Vol. 14 (1) 2004: pp. 17-20