Fluorosis

Fluorosis is a defect in tooth enamel caused by excessive fluoride in young children.  It typically looks like white streaks or spots in teeth.

What does Fluorosis look like?

Almost all instances of Fluorosis in the United States are mild cases which look like spots or streaks of bright white in the enamel of the tooth.  Often unnoticeable, these spots may stand out as brighter white than the rest of the tooth surface.  The much rarer cases of extreme Fluorosis are evidenced by brown stains and rough tooth surfaces.

What causes Fluorosis?

Fluorosis is caused by the ingestion of too much fluoride by young children whose teeth are still developing. 

How can I prevent Fluorosis?

Ask your dentist to determine how much fluoride your children need, and make sure that you monitor your children’s ingestion of fluoride from all sources. There are several potential sources of fluoride that should be accounted for:

  • Many communities have fluoridated water.
  • Some bottled water is fluoridated.
  • Most toothpastes have fluoride.
  • Some children take fluoride supplements.

 

If your child gets enough fluoride from the tap water in your community, there may be no need for fluoride supplements in vitamins or bottled water.  Children under the age of eight should be supervised to make sure that they don’t swallow too much fluoridated tooth paste.

What can my dentist do about Fluorosis?

Ask your dentist about preventing Fluorosis in very young children.  Mild discoloration caused by Fluorosis may be reversed by teeth whitening.  More serious discoloration can be concealed with veneers or dental bonding.  Ask your dentist for recommendations for your particular circumstances.

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