Too much flouride during the early stages of tooth development can cause fluorosis (discolourisation). Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are most susceptible to this problem. Fluorosis is not a disease, but it is a cosmetic nuisance, which can be prevented in the young . But if it is allowed to go unattended, flourosis can result in darkened teeth in adults. Fortunately, the damage caused to the physical appearance of the teeth can be corrected by a dentist. Crowns and veeners are usually to cover-up darkened teeth.
As it is always the case, prevention is the best option. By taking your child to the dentist regularly, early signs of fluorosis can be detected and early remedial action can be taken. The article is intended to create awareness of fluorosis with some practical steps that you as parents can take to help your kids, especially those between the ages of 1 to 4 when their ‘milk’ teeth are being replaced permanent teeth.
Fluorosis is a dental problem which happens when a child ingests too much fluoride during the early stages of tooth development. It usually affects children between the ages of one and four years old. It is at this stage when permanent teeth begin to form underneath the ‘milk’ teeth. Children over the age of eight are at almost no risk of developing fluorosis.
Symptoms of Fluorosis
If your child has an excess of fluoride in their diet while their permanent teeth are developing, this can bring about the noticeable signs of fluorosis. The main characteristic of fluorosis is the stains which form on the teeth when yellow and brown spots begin to appear on the enamel of the tooth. The colour changes can range from minor tinges to extensive changes in the enamel’s surface. Stains and discoloured spots can also appear as streaks and in the more severe cases, black and gray spots or pits can develop.
Once your child’s teeth are fully develop, fluorisis no longer poses any risk, this is usually around the age of eight at the latest. Although fluorosis is not a disease in itself, it can be a very noticeable cosmetic condition. In minor cases of fluorosis the discolourations can be so tiny that only your dentist will notice them. The marks that fluorosis leaves on your teeth will be permanent, and as time passes they have a tendency to darken.
It’s easy for your dentist to spot the signs of fluorosis during one of your regular checkups. You may be asked some questions about your child’s diet such as if they’re using fluoride supplements, a fluoride toothpaste or drinking an excess of fluoridated water. It’s common to be asked about several other medical conditions which could potentially have a similar effect, so that they can be ruled out.
Fortunately, in most cases, fluorosis is so minor that it doesn’t warrant any treatment. Similarly, the discolouration associated with fluorosis can often occur only on the back of your teeth, where they can’t be spotted. In more severe cases, the front teeth may have to be treated through teeth whitening or another cosmetic treatment. In the most extensive cases of fluorosis, the teeth which have become discoloured can be covered with dental restorations like veneers or crowns.
What to Consider with Fluorosis
*Look for signs of dental fluorosis.
*Visit your dentist for a diagnosis.
*Get teeth-whitening treatments.
*Consider tooth restorations for severe cases of fluorosis.
*Heed prevention measures.
Be aware of your child’s fluoride intake, especially while he is under the age of 6.You should make sure to only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste if your child is under the age of six. It’s also important to make them spit after brushing rather than swallowing. As such, you should avoid toothpastes which might encourage swallowing like flavoured toothpastes and to make sure products which contain fluoride aren’t anywhere your children can get at them. There’s a number of soft and fruit drinks which contain fluoride and many brands of bottled water also contains added fluoride. It’s important to make sure your child doesn’t consume a lot of these beverages in order to avoid fluorosis.
* Teeth Whitening
* Gum Contouring
* Cosmetic Bonding
* Dental Implants
* Smile Makeovers
* Cosmetic Dentistry
Many dentists now believe that a healthy and balanced diet, one which eliminates high sugar content food, will provide enough fluoride for the average child to defend against cavities without the need for adding fluoride to drinking water. Flouride has for too long been used as a safety net against poor diets but it would seem even this strategy is not working. Ireland suffers from a tooth decay rate higher than five other European countries that don’t fluoridate the water, which would seem to prove that fluoride is doing little to stem the rate of decay and in large quantities may even be responsible for it. Dentists can advise patients and parents on the necessary levels of fluoride and will recommend which toothpastes are suitable to use in your area.
Flourosis is preventable and can be detected early if you make it a point to take your kids to see your dentist regularly.