- Fluorosis is a condition caused by excessive fluoride consumption, which affects teeth and bones and causes discoloration of teeth in children.
- Factors like age range, geography, dietary habits, and overuse of fluoride supplements can increase the risk of fluorosis.
- Depending on the severity of the condition, treatments like whitening, bonding, and veneers can help deal with this disorder.
- It is crucial to take precautions so that you or your child don’t overexpose themselves to fluoride.
Fluorosis is a condition caused by too much fluoride in your body. Although it mainly affects children, it can occur at any age. Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in water and soil, and it’s also added to some public water supplies to prevent tooth decay. While the right amount of fluoride benefits dental health, too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis. Here’s a closer look at what this condition entails and how to prevent it.
What Is Fluorosis?
Fluorosis is a condition caused by consuming too much fluoride over time. It affects teeth and bones and causes them to become more brittle than usual. When it occurs in children under eight, fluorosis causes white streaks or spots on their teeth that are difficult to remove.
In some cases, these white marks can cover the entire surface of the teeth or cause the enamel to be pitted or discolored. In adults, fluorosis may cause yellowish discolorations on the teeth or even brown spots. It can also make bones more brittle and prone to fractures or breaks.
Risk Factors For Fluorosis
There are various reasons why someone might develop fluorosis. Here are some of them:
Fluorosis affects children more than adults and is most likely to occur between 6 months and eight years old. Children’s teeth are still forming during this period, making them more vulnerable to overexposure to fluoride. Therefore, parents should take extra care during this time and ensure that their children do not consume too much fluoride.
Where you live plays a role in your risk for fluorosis. Areas with naturally high fluoride levels in the water are at a higher risk for fluorosis, and regions where artificial fluoride has been added to the water supply for dental health benefits. This is why it’s important to check local water resources before consuming tap water or using it for drinking or cooking purposes.
Excessive Intake of Fluoride Supplements
While fluoride supplements are beneficial when taken in moderation, taking too many supplements or using too much toothpaste containing fluoride can cause fluorosis in children under eight years old.
Since young children may not understand how much toothpaste they should use when brushing their teeth, parents should keep an eye on how much they use and monitor any changes in their child’s oral hygiene habits that may indicate they are consuming too much fluoride.
Teeth are highly susceptible to dietary fluoroses, such as foods cooked with fluoridated water or beverages prepared with high-fluoride ingredients like tea leaves or coffee grounds that contain naturally occurring fluoride levels.
Parents should watch what their children eat and avoid giving them food items cooked with fluoridated water whenever possible. They should also take note of any foods that may contain high levels of naturally occurring fluoride so they can limit their intake if necessary.
If your child or you has fluorosis, there are various ways to treat it. Here are some of those ways:
The early stages of this disorder can make your teeth turn yellow or brown. In this case, professional teeth whitening may help reduce your teeth’ discoloration. The whitening procedure uses a peroxide-based gel applied on the affected tooth and can help restore the natural color of your teeth.
In more severe cases, dental bonding may be necessary. Bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin material onto the affected teeth to repair any damage or discoloration caused by fluoride overexposure. The resin material will restore the teeth’ natural shape and color, giving you a healthy-looking smile.
Veneers can be used if your teeth are too severely affected by fluorosis to be treated with bonding. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that cover up discolored or damaged teeth and give you a new, bright smile.
Fluorosis is a condition caused by overexposure to fluoride, and it’s essential to be aware of the risk factors and take steps to prevent it. With early diagnosis and treatment, fluorosis can be managed so that you or your child can have a healthy smile for years.