Fluoride is a mineral that helps keep our dental health in good condition and promotes strong teeth. But, overexposure to fluoride during the first eight years of a child’s life can cause an oral condition called enamel fluorosis.
How Does Fluorosis Occur?
Fluorosis can be caused by the inappropriate use of products containing fluoride, including by:
- Swallowing toothpaste or other products like mouthwash that contain fluoride
- Taking fluoride supplements in an amount higher than prescribed during early childhood
- Taking fluoride supplements even when other products like fluoridated water, fruit juice, or soft drinks, already provide the necessary amount
Effects of Fluorosis
Fluorosis can have aesthetic effects on a child’s teeth such as:
- Lacy white markings
- Yellowish or dark brownish stains
- Surface irregularities
- Noticeable pits in the enamel
How Can Fluorosis Be Treated?
Mild cases of fluorosis do not require treatment. However, moderate to severe fluorosis can be treated with:
- Teeth whitening treatments or other procedures that remove teeth stains. In some cases, bleaching the teeth may temporarily worsen the appearance of fluorosis.
- Crowns or custom-made veneers to cover the teeth and improve their appearance. This is usually recommended for serious cases of fluorosis.
- Resin bonding over the enamel to improve appearance.
- A calcium phosphate paste that is sometimes combined with methods like microabrasion and used to minimize tooth discoloration.
How to Prevent Fluorosis from Occurring?
Parents have to be on the lookout to prevent their children from developing enamel fluorosis by:
- Inquiring about the fluoride levels of your tap water
- Checking the fluoride content of the foods and drinks your child consumes
Once you have all the information, consult with your dentist to know whether the amount of fluoride your child is receiving right now is enough or not. Your dentist will tell you to decrease the amount if the intake is above what it should be. Also make sure that your child does not swallow toothpaste while brushing.
Get effective treatment for fluorosis at Dr. Jeanne V. Devi, DDS. To schedule an appointment, call (626) 795-2544 or visit us at 595 E Colorado Blvd Suite 603, Pasadena, CA 91101.