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Should You Be Concerned about Dental Fluorosis?

Posted on 10/20/2015 by Zac Bird
A young boy brushing his teeth with too much fluoride toothpaste.Most parents are aware that fluoride is important for their child's growing teeth and can be essential in preventing cavities, but did you know that too much fluoride could actually be a bad thing? In fact, consuming excessive amounts of fluoride could cause a condition known as dental fluorosis, and children under the age of eight are at risk. Parents need to be aware of what exactly this condition is, how it is caused, and what they can do to prevent it.

What Exactly is Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of the enamel of the teeth. This condition results from exposure to too much fluoride. In mild cases, dental fluorosis will appear on the teeth as scattered white flecks with the occasional white spot. These changes are often hard to even notice, and they can be difficult to see except by a trained dentist. However, moderate and more severe forms of dental fluorosis will involve large white spots, and in the most severe cases, the surfaces of the teeth can become rough and pitted.

Causes of Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis results from consuming too much fluoride over an extended period of time when the teeth are still forming under the gums. Children under the age of eight are at risk because this is when the permanent teeth will be forming under the gums. The severity of the condition will depend on how much fluoride your child is consuming, the timing of the intake, and how long your child was exposed.

What Parents Can Do to Prevent Fluorosis

As a parent, you have a right to be concerned about your child's oral health, and this includes preventing fluorosis. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take:

•  Learn about your drinking water fluoride concentration. It is important that you know about the fluoride concentration in your primary drinking water source when you have young children. This information can help you to make decisions about whether or not you should be using other fluoride products. For example, the recommended fluoride concentration for drinking water is 0.7 mg/L, so if your water source has more fluoride than this amount, you won't want to utilize additional fluoride sources like drops or tablets.
•  Choose an alternate water source if the fluoride concentration is too high. If your tap water contains more than 2 mg/L of fluoride, you should choose a different source for your children. In some regions of the U.S., private wells and even municipal water systems contain extremely high fluoride levels, and at this concentration, young children have a good chance of developing both the moderate and severe forms of dental fluorosis. If you live in one of these communities, you should make sure your kids use an alternative drinking water source that contains the recommended level of fluoride.
•  Use the right amount of fluoride toothpaste. It is important to use the right amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing your child's teeth. For children under the age of two, you shouldn't use fluoride toothpaste unless otherwise advised by a dentist. Plain water and a child-sized toothbrush should suffice. For kids ages 2-6, you should only be applying a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the brush, and you should be sure to supervise their brushing. Encourage your children to spit out excess toothpaste instead of swallowing it.

Analyzing the amount of fluoride that your child is getting is a great way to maximize cavity protection while minimizing the likelihood that he or she will develop fluorosis. If you have additional questions about your child's fluoride intake, please contact our office.

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Bird Family Dentistry
4707 S Junett St
Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 777-0252

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Bird Family Dentistry, 4707 S Junett St, Tacoma, WA, 98409-6480 - Tags: dentist Tacoma WA | dentist in 98409 | dentist Tacoma WA | (253) 777-0252 | | 12/15/2017