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In our latest article, we take a closer look at a problem called dental fluorosis. Essentially this is a condition which occurs when teeth have been exposed to too much fluoride. Normally we are told that fluoride is good and it helps strengthen teeth. As with anything in life, there can be too much of a good thing and fluoride is no exception.
Dental fluorosis is something which is likely to affect children and younger members of the population and is related to when teeth are forming and developing. If too much fluoride is consumed in early life, then you may start to notice discolouration of a white or brown nature which can affect the enamel and surface of the teeth. The results can range from small changes which only a dentist can detect, to major changes, but it is important to note that dental fluorosis is a cosmetic / aesthetic issue and not a dental problem per se. Dental fluorosis does not occur once the teeth have all come through, so it is important to ensure that steps are taken to avoid it during the early years.
What are the symptoms?
As alluded to above, those teeth that have only been impacted in a minor sense will probably show no visible signs of change. As the problem becomes more of an issue, lines, streaks or spots may become visible with more severe cases becoming obviously visible.
How is it likely to happen?
Fluoride is added to water and is present in toothpaste as it is generally a beneficial thing which helps strengthen teeth. Children and most likely to suffer from this condition by encountering foods, toothpastes or mouthwashes with high concentrations of fluoride, so it is best to watch / limit intake.
Dental fluorosis is a permanent condition and any spots, stains or lines which are produced as a result of this will stay forever. These will however darken over time but aesthetic procedures can be attempted to try and make the teeth look more appealing.
Looking after children’s health and teeth is an important priority so if dental fluorosis can be prevented then this should always be the aim.
*You may have noticed on toothpaste that it says to supervise children when brushing teeth and only use a pea-sized amount ? This advice directly relates to dental fluorosis. Ensuring your child doesn’t receive or swallow too much toothpaste can help avoid this problem.
*Generally speaking, children should avoid taking fluoride supplements as remember fluoride is added to water. If in doubt contact your supplier or find out how much is put in the water supply in your local area. If the count is low (which is uncommon in the UK), only then are fluoride supplements recommended.
*Many foods and drink contain added and extra fluoride – examples of which include fruit juices and soft drinks. Try to limit these or at least keep track so you are aware of how much your child is consuming.
If you are worried about your child suffering from dental fluorosis visit our dedicated page where you can find out further information.