The oral benefits of fluoride are well-known. This due to the fact that fluoride makes our teeth stronger and helps prevent decay. Because of these helpful properties, fluoride has been added to many water supplies. While this may be a great way of strengthening teeth, ingesting too much fluoride can result in a condition that many people are unaware of: fluorosis.
What is Fluorosis?
Fluorosis happens when someone has too much fluoride when they are younger. If you or a loved one has it you will have likely notice brown stains and surface flaws all over your teeth. If this is the case, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
What Causes Fluorosis?
As mentioned above, fluorosis is caused by the consumption of too much fluoride at an early age. Basically, the tooth enamel becomes hypermineralized because too much fluoride came into contact with the surface of the teeth while the enamel was still forming.
Is There a Way to Treat Fluorosis?
Fortunately, fluorosis is not a fatal condition. It is actually a fairly common cosmetic issue. As such, there are several cosmetic treatment options to choose from: crowns, veneers, tooth bonding, and teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is the best solution provided the condition is caught early on, before the discoloration really has a chance to set in. If the problem goes unnoticed or is left untreated for a significant amount of time, a crown or bond may be required.
How Can I Prevent Fluorosis?
The best way to prevent fluorosis is by monitoring your child’s fluoride intake on a daily basis. Doing so provides excellent preventative maintenance by giving you the chance to spot signs of the condition before it occurs. Another important step is teaching your children how to portion their fluoride on their brush, ensuring that just the right amount is used. In case you’re wondering, the optimal amount is no larger than a pea. Another effective habit that you will want to instill is having them spit immediately after they brush, as swallowing fluoride is not recommended. Here, you may want to steer clear of flavored toothpastes in favor of something your child is less likely to swallow, like peppermint or spearmint. The final step is making sure that your child cannot get into other items in your house that may contain fluoride.