OBJECTIVE: To determine differences in self-reported fluoride exposure and fluoride exposure biomarkers between two racial groups.
METHODS: Questionnaires regarding fluoride exposure, urine and water collection kits were distributed to African American and White 7-14-year-old children. Children received a dental exam for fluorosis. Water, urine, and saliva were analyzed for fluoride content. Questionnaire responses and results of sample analyses were compared and observed differences were analyzed.
RESULTS: 83 African American and 109 White children completed the study. Dental fluorosis was observed in 62.5 percent White and 80.1 percent African American children. Significant differences were found for fluorosis prevalence and severity between the groups (P < 0.05). Less African American children reported having used fluoride supplements in the past. White children began brushing their teeth at an earlier age. More White children visited a dentist for the first time before age 3. African American children reported currently using larger amounts of toothpaste. More Whites than African Americans had received topical fluoride treatments over the previous year. All of these differences were significant. Multivariate models showed that supplement use and amount of toothpaste used for brushing had significant associations to a child’s fluorosis scores. Fluoride concentration of water and saliva was not different for the two groups; however, the fluoride content in urine was significantly higher in African Americans than in Whites [P < 0.05; 1.40 +/- standard deviation (SD) 0.65 ppm versus 1.08 +/- SD 0.28 ppm].
CONCLUSIONS: Differences in fluoride exposure between two racial groups were observed. These differences are complex and need to be better defined.