OBJECTIVE: To obtain information on the level of total fluoride intake from food, beverages and toothpaste by children at the age of 22-25 months of low and high socioeconomic status (SES) in major Colombian cities.
METHODS: Daily fluoride intake was assessed by the duplicate plate method and by recovered toothpaste solution during a 3-day period and afterwards analysed by the microdiffusion method.
RESULTS: Mean daily fluoride intake was 0.11 (+/-0.10), 0.14 (+/-0.12), 0.10 (+/-0.07) and 0.07 (+/-0.06) mg/kg body weight (bw)/day in Bogota, Medellin, Manizales and Cartagena, respectively. The total fluoride intake was higher in low-SES subjects in the cities of Medellin and Bogota. In the high-SES children of the four cities, the average intakes ranged from 0.06 to 0.09 mg F/kg bw, whereas, the low-SES children in three cities had intakes between 0.11 and 0.21 mg F/kg bw (Cartagena, 0.07). Toothpaste (containing 1000-1500 ppm F, with 1500 ppm F being more common) accounted for approximately 70% of total fluoride intake, followed by food (24%) and beverages (<6%). More than half the children had their teeth brushed by an adult, on average twice a day, using 0.22-0.65 g of toothpaste.
CONCLUSION: Children from three Colombian cities have a mean total daily fluoride intake above the ‘optimal range’. Health authorities should promote an appropriate use of fluoridated dentifrices discouraging the use of dentifrices containing 1500 ppm F in children younger than 6 years of age and promoting a campaign of education of parents and oral health professionals on adequate toothbrushing practices.