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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016, pp. 10711-10722
Bioline Code: nd16008
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016, pp. 10711-10722

Kebede, Aweke; Retta, N.; Abuye, C. & Malde, M. K.


Optimum fluoride intake plays an essential role in the prevention of dental caries while fluoride consumption above recommended level interferes with the normal formation of tooth enamel and bones and may increase risk of dental and skeletal fluorosis. The knowledge and practices of endemic communities on etiology of fluorosis will help in its mitigation and prevention. The objective of this study was to investigate the knowledge, attitude and practices of endemic community on fluoride contamination, fluorosis and prevention practices in order to devise coordinated and targeted prevention mechanisms. Focus group discussions (FGD) and key-informant interview were conducted in three dietary areas to collect knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of the endemic community in July 2013.The results indicated that health consequences of fluoride contaminated water are fairly understood. None of the discussants mentioned the word “fluoride”. The knowledge and perception of the community on fluoride ingestion is poor. Health extension workers (HEWs) did not teach about fluoride and related health consequences. Dental fluorosis was reported to start at early ages and not commonly perceived as a major problem. However, adolescents worried and felt that they might be singled out when going to other areas. Older people have a skeletal fluorosis, which interferes with their day to day activities. In severely affected people, the teeth were weak and fragile and thus create difficulty in chewing hard foods like unfermented dry flat bread, sugar cane and toasted grains. People prefer rain water rather than water from borehole because of the inconvenient taste of the latter. The endemic communities have no sufficient knowledge and skills on potential sources of fluoride intake, the debilitating effect of high fluoride ingestion, and preventive and mitigatory measures to reduce fluoride intake. The effect of fluoride contamination and mitigatory methods should get sufficient attention by the community, health workers and concerned governmental bodies. The trend of harvesting and using rain water should be encouraged as it reduces fluoride intake. Future studies should focus on information communication on possible fluoride risks, intervention and evaluation studies on defluoridation, rain water harvesting and mitigatory techniques.

Fluoride; Contamination; Fluorosis; Mitigation; Endemic; Perception; Ethiopian Rift Valley

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