Introduction: It has been suggested that undernourished children are more likely to develop dental fluorosis. We investigated the effects of nutritional status on systemic fluoride metabolism including the proportion of ingested fluoride excreted through urine (i.e. fractional urinary fluoride excretion - FUFE) and fluoride concentration in nail clippings in children, aged 4−5 years, in Nepal. Methods: Nutritional status was evaluated using weight-for-age (wasting) and height-for-age (stunting) indices. Total daily fluoride intake (TDFI) was estimated from diet and toothpaste ingestion and 24 -h urine collected to assess daily urinary fluoride excretion (DUFE). FUFE was calculated by dividing DUFE by TDFI. Nail clippings (finger and toe) were collected and analysed for fluoride concentration. Results: Of the 100 children who participated, 89 provided information to assess FUFE and 51 children provided nail samples. Overall, 86.5 % of the 89 children were wasted and 39.3 % were stunted. When the samples were pooled into binary (affected and non-affected) categories, mean TDFI and mean DUFE were statistically significantly higher in the 77 wasted children (57.7 and 29.7 μg/kgbw/d, respectively) than the 12 non-wasted children (39.4 and 17.0 μg/kgbw/d, respectively). TDFI and DUFE were also statistically significantly higher in the 35 stunted children (65.1 and 34.5 μg/kgbw/d, respectively) than in the 54 non-stunted children (48.8 and 23.7 μg/kgbw/d, respectively). However, mean FUFE was similar in all groups. There were no statistically significant differences in fluoride concentration of either fingernails or toenails among the different categories of wasting, while mean fingernail fluoride concentration was statistically significantly higher in stunted (5.4 μg/g) than in non-stunted children (3.5 μg/g). Conclusion: Our study found no significant effect of nutritional status on the proportion of ingested fluoride excreted in urine (and consequently the proportion retained in the body). These findings suggest that nutritional status may be less likely to be a main risk factor for the development of dental fluorosis than children's dietary habits or total fluoride intake.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the children and their parents, schools and hospitals for their participation and cooperation. This work was partially funded by the Borrow Foundation .
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