Salt, fluoride mix can prevent tooth decay, says Aust doctor

National

Introducing fluoride into table salt can be an effective way to prevent tooth decay in Papua New Guinea, a doctor says.
University of Newcastle lecturer Dr Barry Reed told the 53rd medical symposium yesterday that tooth decay caused pain in young and old people, and could be very expensive to treat.
He said from his research done through working with Kokoda Track Foundation and Youth With A Mission medical ship in 2012, he found out that 95 per cent of adults and 63 per cent of children had decayed teeth in Northern.
“The average number of decayed teeth per person – adults three to four decayed teeth and children one to eight decayed teeth.”
Reed said preventative methods were proved to be effective in several Australia communities and these included the introduction of programmes for school children and training remote health staff.
He said brushing with fluoride toothpaste was the only effective means of preventing tooth decay, but rural communities could not afford to buy it on a regular basis.
“For Papua New Guinea and many other rural populations, adding fluoride to common table salt reduces tooth decay in children and adults often by 50-55 per cent nationally or sometimes even more,” Reed said.
“Including fluoride in table salt has proven to be a success in 30 nations in Europe and South America over the past 30 years.”

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