Fluorosis is a common problem among residents in the Rift Valley area of Ethiopia. High levels of fluoride in the public water supplies have led many to develop dental fluorosis, a condition that can cause darkening or deformity of the teeth and bones. To help address this problem and propose viable solutions, one University of Oklahoma graduate student will travel to the country to test different methods of water treatments.
Laura Brunson has considered several inexpensive and sustainable solutions, such as using aluminum coated wood or bone chars to remove excess fluoride from drinking water. However, she explained that it is essential for her and other researchers to test these method in the communities in which they will be implemented, since people in some regions are hesitant about treating water with bones.
Her goal is to create a system that will bring fluoride levels down to those deemed safe by the World Health Organization.
In the U.S., low amounts of fluoride are often added to water supplies and dental hygiene products to improve oral health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fluoride helps to re-mineralize tooth surfaces, which may reduce the chances of an individual developing tooth decay or cavities.
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