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Fluoride toothpaste can be lethal to children – Dr. Atuwo-Ampoh

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Dr Richard Atuwo-Ampoh

Dr Richard Atuwo-Ampoh, Head of Department in Dental Surgery, Ho Teaching Hospital, has called on parents to supervise their children when brushing their teeth, since studies have shown that ingestion of adult toothpaste by them could be lethal.

He said toothpaste for children was not common, therefore parents should use a pea-nut size or minimal amount of an adult toothpaste to brush for children.

Dr Atuwo-Ampoh suggested that if parents were worried about the fluoride content in a toothpaste, they could opt for a fluoride free toothpaste.

He added that the use of fluoride free toothpaste meant children had to brush regularly and visit the dentist frequently to avoid the weakening and discoloration of the teeth.

Dr Atuwo-Ampoh who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said children below the age of two should use fluoride free toothpaste, since they had not attained the level of using fluoridated toothpaste.

He reiterated that fluoride was safe for use by both adults and children, but the most important thing was that it had to be used correctly.

Mr Gorden Akurugu, Volta Regional Director, Food and Drug Authority (FDA), said the Authority licenses fluoridated-toothpaste with standards of 1,450 ppm as wholesome and that of water at 1.5mg/l.

He said the Authority usually clamped-down on sub-standard products that failed to conform in post-market surveillance activities to protect the population.

“We shall not compromise on standards. It’s non-negotiable.”

The American Dental Association (ADA) says fluoride in water benefits communities against tooth decay by 20 to 40 per cent, and that it protects cavity formation and saves money.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) notes that long-term exposure to drinking water that contains more than 1.5 part per million (ppm) could lead to health problems such as abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea and vomiting, seizures and muscle spasms.

Source: GNA

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