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What Causes Fluorosis?

Posted on 3/1/2024 by Weo Admin
A Close up of woman smilingFluoride is a mineral naturally found in water and some foods. It is also added to certain products like toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. While fluoride plays a crucial role in oral health, excessive exposure during childhood can lead to a condition called fluorosis.

Understanding Fluorosis

Fluorosis affects children under eight during dental development, causing tooth enamel to change from faint white streaks to brown spotting or pitting. It is mainly a cosmetic issue with no health risks. Severe cases affect aesthetics and confidence.

The Root of the Issue

The main culprit behind fluorosis is excessive fluoride intake during tooth development. This can stem from several sources:

Fluoridated Water

Many communities add fluoride to their public water supply to promote oral health. While this practice is generally safe and effective, consuming excessive amounts from this source can contribute to fluorosis.

Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouthwash

Swallowing fluoride toothpaste, especially for young children who have not mastered proper spitting, can increase their fluoride intake. Fluoride mouthwashes, though less common, can also be a factor.

Fluoride Supplements

Sometimes, these are prescribed by dentists for specific reasons. Misuse of fluoride supplements, particularly when combined with other fluoride sources, can increase the risk of fluorosis.

Preventing Fluorosis

The good news is that fluorosis is mainly preventable. Here are some critical steps you can take:

Monitor Fluoride Intake

If prescribed fluoride supplements, adhere strictly to the recommended dosage. Excess use can lead to fluorosis.

Use Age-Appropriate Toothpaste

Choose a pea-sized amount of fluoride specifically formulated for children under six years old. These toothpastes have lower fluoride concentrations to minimize the risk of swallowing and overexposure.

Supervise Brushing

Help young children brush their teeth. Encourage them to spit and not swallow the toothpaste.

Healthy oral habits established early in life contribute to a lifetime of beautiful smiles! By following these simple tips and working with our dentist, you can help ensure your child receives the benefits of fluoride for healthy teeth while minimizing the risk of fluorosis.

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