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Revista de Saúde Pública

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CASTILHO, Lia Silva de et al. Beliefs and attitudes about endemic dental fluorosis among adolescents in rural Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.2, pp.261-266. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVE: To understand beliefs and attitudes about fluorosis among young people living in a rural area. METHODOLOGICAL PROCEDURES: Qualitative study consisting of semi-structured interviews with 23 adolescents with dental fluorosis, 14 teachers and three health authorities in the city of São Francisco, Southeastern Brazil, in 2002. Content analysis and social representation theory were applied. ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: The organoleptic characteristics of carbonates that affect groundwater (salty flavor, whitish coloration, and turbidity) associated with negative aspects of household use of this water are considered a cause of mottled enamel. Even after contact with researchers who investigated this phenomenon and helped find a solution for this condition, the local population is still unwilling to accept fluoride as the cause of the problem and does not fully agree to use water from other sources because they are afraid of the quality of water. CONCLUSIONS: Misperceptions of the causes of dental fluorosis and water treatment costs compromise the implementation of uncontaminated surface water supplies. Health education strategies are required in parallel with solutions for securing water supply in drought-ravaged areas.

Keywords : Adolescent; Fluorosis, Dental; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Rural Population; Qualitative Research.

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