This week in the News: January 9, 2010
In the 1950s, when medical evidence showed that a small amount of fluoride could help improve dental health, the federal government began urging utilities to add fluoride to local water supplies. Now, a report by the Department of Health and Human Services says that young children may be getting too much. Their new proposal sets the amount at just over half the previous recommended level.
One of the reasons for the change is that 2 out of 5 adolescents ages 12 through 15 have tooth streaking or spotting because they are getting too much fluoride. The condition, known as fluorosis, appears to have grown more common since the 1980s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Like anything else, you can have too much of a good thing," said Dr. Howard Pollick, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco's dental school and spokesman for the American Dental Association.
In this online activity you will learn about fluoride, what is and what it can do for teeth and bones. You will also learn about basic care for your teeth.
Begin this week’s activity by visiting the web site of the prestigious Mayo Clinic, where you can learn a few basic facts about Sodium Fluoride, the mineral added to most city water as well as some foods, drinks, and other products. It is commonly referred to simply as “fluoride.” Read the Description section. Is fluoride a natural substance or is it man-made? Is it fine to stop brushing your teeth if you get enough fluoride? What is the recommended daily intake of fluoride for adolescents and adults?
Now turn to the WebMD Oral Health Guide to read about Dental Health and Fluoride Treatment. Read the first page. Describe how minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer. How exactly does fluoride make a difference in protecting teeth from plaque? What age group benefits the most from fluoride? Who might benefit from additional fluoride treatments?
Click Next Page at the bottom and read the second page, which focuses more on risks. What can happen if someone gets too much fluoride? Is fluorosis dangerous? Why is it important not to swallow toothpaste? Why is drinking bottled water a concern?
Dental Care for Kids
Click Continue at the bottom of the page and keep reading or listening. Which teeth should you brush? How long should you brush them? What else can you brush besides your teeth? How often should you visit a dentist?
Colgate, the toothpaste company, has made a video showing you How to Brush Your Teeth. Watch the video, and then listen for answers to these questions. How many times each day should you brush? How often should you rinse your brush? What can happen if you press down too hard with your toothbrush?
Fluoride can make a difference in preventing cavities, but a lot more depends on how you eat and how well you take care of your teeth. For this week’s newspaper activity, we will focus on eating. In a current or recent issue of The Sacramento Bee, look for grocery ads or other food ads for food that you may find throughout the newspaper. Foods that are high in sugar, such as candy and soda, will produce more plaque. Natural foods that are lower in sugar will produce less plaque, and your teeth will remain healthier. Clip out at least 20 pictures of food. Divide the clippings into two groups: good for teeth and bad for teeth. (If you are not sure, research it on the internet or ask an adult.) Mount your pictures on poster board to create a dental health awareness poster. Work with a friend or classmate to collect twice as many food photos.
Weekly News Topics
Each week The Bee publishes a new weekly news topic for students who use the Internet and newspaper as learning resources. The weekly news topic are tied to current events in the news and help students extend their knowledge on a wide range of subjects. Click here to return to the table of contents.
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