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Fluorosis is a defect of tooth enamel caused by too much fluoride intake during the first 8 years of life. Although fluorosis can be cosmetically treated, the damage to the enamel is permanent.

The cases of dental fluorosis are rising due to the drought in Maharashtra, as people have to dig deeper to gain access to water. Water at a certain depth contains a heavy concentration of fluoride. Consuming such water leads to the formation of dental fluorosis. This affects the oral health of the villagers. It can lead to permanent damage if not treated on time.

The eight districts which have been severely affected are Yavatmal, Washim, Beed, Nanded, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Wardha, and Latur. The primary symptom is discolouration of teeth, as the teeth turn yellow due to enamel erosion.

There are two types of fluorosis – dental and skeletal fluorosis. Dental fluorosis primarily affects the teeth. While skeletal fluorosis affects the bones and causes calcium deficiency in the bones, it can lead to crooked hands.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, State health department’s Directorate of Health Services, Deputy Director (Oral Health), Dr Yaswant Mule, said, “1,481 patients have been affected with dental fluorosis across eight districts in Maharashtra. Fluorosis is caused by bad quality water with a heavy concentration of fluoride. Dentists will go across homes to identify patients.”

More cases of dental fluorosis are coming forward and people are not aware of this condition. The state government has started a dental programme in these eight districts. Through which dentist will conduct a door-to-door campaign and conduct a survey. They will search for cases of fluorosis. The patients will be referred to civil hospitals and be treated free of cost.

Awareness drives will be done in rural areas. The state has allocated Rs 2 lakhs per district.

Whereas National Health Mission, Nodal officer, Dr Roshni Mukhi, said, “Fluorosis is a silent killer. A person can become handicapped if it is not treated on time. Fluoride is found at great depths of water for e.g. in wells which have been dug too deep. Drinking this water over long periods of time can cause this condition.”

She added, “The number of patients are increasing. The state governments dental programme is expected to benefit people. Dentists are being trained to go door-to-door. We will go to the eight affected districts. We will also be visiting Bhandara, Aurangabad, Gondia, Buldhana, and Hingoli as the cases are being witnessed over here.”

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