PhD Funded Research Project: Fluoride

The estimation of total fluoride intake and excretion in infants aged 1 to 12 months living in Newcastle upon Tyne and Middlesbrough, UK

Institution: Teesside University

Dept/School/Faculty: Graduate Research School

PhD Supervisor: Dr V Zohoori 

Application Deadline: 27 July 2012

The project will involve estimation of total fluoride intake and excretion in infants aged 1 to 12 months living in Newcastle upon Tyne and Middlesbrough. Fluoride is a trace element with a beneficial role in the mineralisation of bone and teeth. It is one of only few known agents that can stimulate bone cell proliferation and increase mineral deposition in cancellous bone. More importantly, the use of fluorides can substantially reduce dental caries and as a public health measure it has a valuable role in improving the oral health of communities. However, increased prevalence of dental fluorosis (tooth mottling) reported in industrialised and developing countries may be due to excessive chronic ingestion of fluorides from various sources. Obtaining the best balance between substantial caries reduction and avoidance of unsightly mottling is of critical importance to public health planners. The first 24 months of life has been suggested as an important risk period for dental fluorosis in the aesthetically important developing permanent front teeth and knowledge of body fluoride retention as a fraction of its intake during this period is an important determinant of risk.

Until now, most information on body fluoride retention has resulted from studies with healthy adults and laboratory animals due to the difficulties in collecting 24 hour urine and faeces samples from infants and young children. As age and body size are important variables in fluoride retention, the aim of the proposed study is to investigate the trend in body fluoride retention rate when the risk of dental fluorosis is highest.

The project specifically involves collaboration between the public health group at Teesside University with the fluoride team at the Centre for Oral Health Research, School of Dental Sciences, Newcastle University. The supervisory team consists of Dr Vida Zohoori (Director of Studies) from Teesside University and Dr Anne Maguire from Newcastle University. Although the successful candidate will be given a desk at Teesside University, the period of laboratory analysis will be conducted at the fluoride laboratory, Newcastle University.

It is desirable for applicants to have a good undergraduate degree in a science (2.1 or above) and postgraduate degree in a nutritional, biological, dental or other health-related discipline. Some experience of recruitment of study participants and familiarity with the process of obtaining ethical approval for clinical studies in the UK are also desirable.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Vida Zohoori ( for further details.

Funding Notes:

The studentship is for three years (full-time), subject to satisfactory progress and consists of tuition fees at the current Home/EU rate and a stipend of £12,600 per annum. If the successful candidaten is an International student, they will be expected to pay the difference between the Home fee (£4,350) and the International rate (£10,250). The studentship is sponsored by the Organix Foundation.

The closing date for applications is 27 July 2012 at 4.30 pm. Late applications will not be considered.

Interviews will be held in the week commencing 13th August 2012 for applicants who are short-listed.

More details at:

published on: 28th June 2012