For Medical ProfessionalsIt 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.
- Genuvalgum (knock knee)
- Genuvarum (bow leg)
- 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.