For Medical Professionals

It may be confusing for a Doctor / Medical Officer to differentiate Skeletal Fluorosis from other bone diseases viz: Arthritis (joint pain); Spondylites (neck pain); Osteoporosis (atrophy of bone); Osteomalacia (due to calcium deficiency in the diet) and Other Bone diseases It is equally true that a Doctor / Medical Officer, needs to know how to differentiate the following health complaints due to fluoride poisoning from other disorders having similar complaints.
  • Non-ulcer dyspepsia (stomach problems / irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Polyuria (tendency to urinate more frequently)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Anemia (low hemoglobin)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Extreme Fatigue

Doctors also have a problem to diagnose Fluorosis in children.

Differentiating Fluorosis from the following diseases require knowledge and skills.

  • Rickets
  • Genuvalgum (knock knee)
  • Genuvarum (bow leg)
  • Cretinism
  • Low IQ
  • Deaf mutism

For Dental Professionals:

It is equally important to up-date Dentists and Dental Health Administrators on the harmful effects of fluoride on teeth. Dental Fluorosis occur with.

  • Loss of calcium from the teeth.
  • Pitting and perforations with chipping off the teeth.
  • Discolouration of teeth with varying shades – white, yellow, brown to black seen horizontally aligned / or as spots away from the gum on the enamel surface, is classical Dental Fluorosis.
  • Exposure to fluoride need to be avoided from the stage of tooth germ eruption i.e. 6 weeks of intra-uterine life to 6 years of age. This is extremely crucial as the child is bound to develop Dental Fluorosis, if care is not exercised.
  • It is also equally important to up-date all concerned on "Dental Caries" which is yet another problem of the teeth which is caused by bacteria breeding in unhygienic oral environment and producing acids.
  • It is also a fact that use of fluoride my lead to loosing of teeth (edentulous) at a much younger age.
  • The advertisements on electronic and print media promoting fluoride in toothpaste, originated from the ‘west’ is a 60 years old, out-dated, unscientific and unethical practice.
  • It is for the above reasons, Human Resource Development need to focus on training and up-dating of Doctors which includes Medical Officers, Private Practitioners and Dental Health Professionals.

For Public Health Engineers

  • The Public health Engineers / Environmental Engineers / Chemical Engineers also need to be aware of the principles of water quality testing, quality control procedures to obtain reliable and reproducible results.
  • It is also important for them to know monitoring of water quality and what it involves for ensuring sustainability.
  • Defluoridation procedures, developed indigenously are alien to a large number of the Public Health Engineers / Civil and Chemical Engineers in the country, unless up-dates are conducted.