Find out how you can prevent your children from developing dental fluorosis, while still making sure they get all the benefits of fluoride.
Dental fluorosis is a discolouration of the permanent teeth that can result from overexposure to fluoride during their development.
Most cases of dental fluorosis are mild, and manifest in white discolourations on the teeth. However, moderate or severe fluorosis can result in dark discolourations ranging from yellow to brown, as well as surface irregularities.
Fluorosis is most common in children between the ages of 12 and 15.
Fortunately, it is easily preventable with good communication between parents and their children’s dentists.
The most common cause of fluorosis is the excess use of fluoride supplements in the form of fluoride toothpastes, rinses, oral supplements and fluoridated water.
These supplements are all perfectly safe, and indeed, highly beneficial, when used in the correct amounts. Problems only arise when they are used in such a way that too much fluoride ends up being taken in.
There are lots of ways this could happen. For example, parents may not be aware of the levels of fluoride their city water supply contains, and give their children fluoride supplements when they’re already getting sufficient fluoride from the water supply. Or, they may purchase toothpastes or mouth rinses without noticing that they contain fluoride.
Parental vigilance is the key to preventing fluorosis.
Before giving your child a The best way to find out if your child needs fluoride supplements, talk to the dentist. If your city water supply is fluoridated, your dentist will be able to tell you, and how much, if any, supplemental fluoride your child needs for strong, healthy teeth.
Read labels carefully so that you know which products contain fluoride and which don’t, and monitor your children’s use of fluoridated products, to ensure they don’t ingest toothpaste or mouth rinses, and that products that should be ingested are consumed as prescribed.
Fluoride is an integral element in the development of strong, healthy teeth, but children’s consumption of it should always be closely monitored by parents and the family dentist.