A VICTORIAN dentist is asking Far North Queenslanders to send him kids’ teeth for a new study investigating the effect water fluoridation has on children’s oral health.
Melbourne-based dentist Maurice White is asking parents to send him baby molar teeth that fall out from children’s mouths to measure developmental faults in chewing surfaces and to compare teeth from fluoridated and non-fluoridated parts of Australia.
The Tooth Fairy Project, which has been developed alongside RMIT University, will examine the teeth at the Australian Synchrotron to find out why some teeth have developmental faults.
Dr White said he hoped he would be able to collect at least 100 teeth from different communities across the nation that he could use for the project.
He believed the simple process of leaving food on teeth – by not brushing or flossing correctly each day, increased tooth decay.
“The little grooves on your molars, they actually go deep into the tooth,” he said.
“When you’re chewing food, food gets caught in there, and it’s the first bit of food that you chew and it fills it up.
“If it’s got sugar in it, it changes to acid, and the acid makes a cavity inside the tooth, whereas most all other cavities occur on the outside of the tooth.”
He said he was particularly keen to collect teeth from areas that have never had water fluoridation or have had the chemical removed.
Fluoride was controversially removed from the Cairns Regional Council water supply in 2013, two years after it was installed in local water treatment plants.
“We are hoping to find out whether teeth in fluoride areas have got smaller spaces, or no spaces, compared to teeth in non-fluoride areas,” Dr White said.
“We’re then hoping to get another group of scientists to look at those teeth and work out what we can do to grow teeth without any faults in them.”
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Register online at supertoothndk.org.au for comparisons with other postcodes and state or national averages for any age group.
Parents can send baby molar teeth for examination.
A form from the website is needed, along with the child’s name, birth date, postcode at birth, current postcode and information on cavities or fillings.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a “Tooth Fairy Box”. The postal address is 87 Lewis Rd, Wantirna South, Victoria 3152.
*Original article online at http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/send-me-your-loose-teeth-dentist-plays-tooth-fairy-to-study-effect-of-fluoride-on-childrens-teeth/news-story/8e1edf137c8ed734f5aab954067d7977