Children needed for fluoride study


University of Otago researchers want help from Oamaru children.

The university is embarking on a major fluoride study in the town.

Dr Sheila Skeaff said the focus of the study, taking place during the school holidays, was to monitor fluoride consumption among children between the ages of 9 and 11.

The study would ask parents and children to keep a “diet diary” each day for two weeks of the food and drink the children consumed.

Children were also required to brush their teeth in front of the project group.

“We get them to spit in a container so we can collect that and we can work out how much toothpaste they had and know how much fluoride was in the toothpaste,” Dr Skeaff said.

It had been difficult finding volunteers for the study, Dr Skeaff said.

“At the moment, we’ve only got five kids, and we could probably grab another 30 to 40.

“We really only want five to 10 kids per school,” she said.

Two masters students from the project had travelled to Oamaru schools on separate occasions to recruit children.

“Even though some of the kids seem keen, we’re not getting the consent forms back,” she said.

The university would try recruiting children through school holiday programmes.

Similar studies had been conducted in the 1990s, Dr Skeaff said.

Children would also have to provide urine samples for testing.

Parents who want their children to take part in the study can contact Dr Skeaff by email ( or phone (022 465-4753).

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