Understanding Dental Fluorosis

Jul 5, 2013

It’s probably a condition you’ve never heard of before, but fluorosis is beginning to affect more and more children each year. But what is this mysterious and relatively unknown condition? Read on to find out.

 

What is Fluorosis?

Fluorosis is a dental condition that occurs when children are exposed to high concentrations of fluoride during critical periods of tooth development, typically 20 to 30 months old. As a result of the excessive levels of fluoride exposure, those affected by dental fluorosis often have permanently discolored teeth, white streaks and pitted, difficult to clean enamel. Though the majority of cases are mild and benign and don’t have a negative impact on the health of teeth, the condition can cause teeth to be aesthetically unappealing and cause teasing and low self-esteem issues for children.

What Should I Watch Out For?

Again, while the vast majority of cases of dental fluorosis do not have any impact on health, parents may still want to be vigilant in the prevention of these conditions in their children. Here are some things you can do to watch our for and even prevent dental fluorosis occurrence:

  • Fluoride in Water Supply — A significant cause of possible formation of dental fluorosis is high levels of fluoride in the drinking water supply. Though typically innocuous for adults, if the local drinking water supply has too high of a fluoride content it can cause dental fluorosis for children. If your community has natural fluoride content surpassing two parts per million, consider getting access to water from another source for you child.

  • Toothpastes & Mouthwashes — Many proactive parents introduce their children to brushing, proper oral hygiene and dental care at an early age. This is good, but many young children opt to swallow toothpaste because they like the taste or don’t want to spit it out. Once in awhile this is okay, but failing to prevent this on a regular basis can lead to too much fluoride from the swallowed products affecting tooth development.

  • Fluoride Supplements — Once more, proactive parents can be great. Understanding that your child might need fluoride supplements to prevent tooth decay at a young age is great. However, exposing your child to too much fluoride via fluoride supplements can be a potential cause of fluorosis if left unchecked. Talk to your dentist, or research on reputable sites on the web to find out the proper level for your child.

  • Low Calcium Intake — Calcium can aid in the prevention of fluorosis. Ensuring that your child has an adequate intake of daily calcium can be a great preventative step against the formation of fluorosis and other dental disorders.

 

If you have any questions about dental fluorosis, its prevention or its treatment, or would simply like to schedule an appointment with our office, feel free to get in touch with us at Noble Smile Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.