BACKGROUND: In developing countries, maternal and neonatal mortality is high. Among the causes of death during the neonatal period, low birth weight is crucial. A dose of fluoride beyond 2mg/L causes enamel damage, possibly affecting the fetus. The aim of this study was to search for an association between dental fluorosis in the mother and low birthweight of the newborn.
METHODOLOGY: This was a case-control study performed in an endemic area in Senegal (Diourbel). It included 108 mothers who gave birth to newborns weighing less than 2500 g (cases) and 216 mothers with newborns weighing greater or equal to 2500 g (controls). Data on socio-demographic, lifestyle, history and pregnancy variables were collected. Those related to water consumption during pregnancy and dental fluorosis (Dean’s index) were measured. The data were analyzed by R software. Logistic regression was used to identify associations and the statistical significance level was set to 0.05.
RESULTS: The proportions of mothers consuming well water were 62% among cases versus 43.5% among controls. The score 4 of Dean’s Index was reported for 25.9% of cases versus 6.9% of controls. The water consumed and the modal score of Dean’s Index were significantly associated with the occurrence of low birthweight adjusted for gender, consanguinity, anemia and hypertension.
CONCLUSION: Low birthweight was associated with pregnant women living in endemic areas. Defluoridation programs and access for pregnant women and children to high quality water are necessary in areas of endemic fluorosis.