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Release: Nov. 29, 2001

UI working with Czech researcher on fluoride study

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The UI College of Dentistry is hosting Romana Ivancakova, M.D., Ph.D., as a part of a fellowship funded by the International Association for Dental Research and the Borrow Dental Milk Foundation. This is the first time this fellowship research will be conducted in the United States instead of Europe.

University of Iowa researchers are looking into whether fluoridated milk can prevent the formation of cavities.

Ivancakova, head of pediatric dentistry at Charles University in Hradec Kravloce, Czech Republic, will conduct research at the UI for the next nine months. In conjunction with UI investigators, she will assess the effect of fluoridated milk on the formation, progression, arrestment and remineralization of dental caries, including tooth decay. The research will be done on human teeth extracted for orthodontic reasons. The teeth will be sterilized and then put into one of four solutions: deionized water, plain milk or one of two different concentrations of fluoridated milk.

UI researchers and Ivancakova have nearly finished the pilot study stage of their research. They expect to find that the fluoridated milk will have some protective effect on teeth.

"Fluoridated milk is a very good idea because, unlike fluoride in the drinking water, people have the choice of whether they want it or not," Ivancakova said. "It is also an easy way to build fluoride into a child's diet."

Fluoride has been added to some water supplies in the United States, but other than the United Kingdom and Ireland, Europe does not have fluoride in their water supplies. Fluoridated milk currently is available in some countries as an alternative.

The fellowship is being supervised by James S. Wefel, Ph.D., professor and director of the Dows Institute for Dental Research at the UI College of Dentistry.

In addition to Ivancakova, UI staff on the research team include Cindy Asmussen, Maggie Hogan and Jeff Harless, who are all research assistants for the UI College of Dentistry.