What Is Dental Fluorosis, and Are Your Child’s Teeth Affected?
There’s an explanation to those white spots…
Ever heard of “Dental Fluorosis”? Or, better yet, have you ever noticed multiple spots on a person’s teeth that are noticeably whiter (appropriately termed “white spots”)? We’re betting you have.
So… what is “Dental Fluorosis”?
Dental Fluorosis is an oral condition that causes noticeable and permanent white spots, or even brown discolouration, to form on the surfaces of the teeth during development due to an excessive consumption of fluoride. Luckily, fluorosis only affects the appearance of the teeth … so in other words, it isn’t anything to worry about in terms of dental health or cavity risk.
Spit it out!
It’s important to monitor your child’s fluoride intake every day and to ensure they aren’t swallowing more fluoride than they should. Fluorosis only affects teeth that are newly developing and not teeth that have already erupted. Provide your child with just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their brush and encourage them to spit out the paste and avoid swallowing. Also, keep the toothpaste tube (or any fluoride-containing dental hygiene products, such as mouth rinse) out of reach.
An excess of fluoride can also be consumed through too many fluoride tablets or supplements, or from consuming too much fluoridated water or substances. Parents should bring their child to the dentist as soon as the sign of their first tooth, or before the age of one. The dentist will be able to recommend an appropriate amount of fluoride and will teach you how to prevent fluorosis. If your child’s teeth have already erupted and show white streaks/spots or discolouration, make an appointment with the dentist to ensure that it is, in fact, fluorosis – as there are other health conditions that may be causing this symptom.
Fluoride: Extremely beneficial to dental health (in appropriate doses)
Fluoride has been clinically proven over the years to strengthen the teeth and make them less susceptible to tooth decay. It’s up to you and your dentist to make sure that your child is benefitting from an appropriate amount of fluoride so that dental fluorosis need not be a problem.
Dr. Coman Dentistry
85 Norfolk Street, Suite 308
Guelph, ON N1H 4J4