Find out how you can prevent dental fluorosis in your kids while still making sure they reap the benefits of fluoride.
Dental fluorosis is a discolouration of the teeth caused by overexposure to fluoride during the development of the permanent teeth.
Most cases of dental fluorosis are mild, manifesting in white discolourations on the teeth. Moderate to severe fluorosis can result in darker discolourations ranging from yellow to brown, and surface irregularities.
Fluorosis is most prevalent in children between the ages of 12 and 15.
Fluorosis is easily preventable with good communication between parents and their children’s dentists.
The main culprit when it comes to fluorosis is the excess use of fluoride supplements in the form of fluoride toothpastes, rinses, oral supplements and fluoridated water.
It is important to note that these supplements are all perfectly safe when consumed in the correct amounts. The problem arises when they are used in such a way that too much fluoride ends up being consumed.
There is a variety of ways this can happen. Parents may not be aware of the levels of fluoride their city water supply contains, and give their children fluoride supplement products even though 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.
The best way to find out if your child needs supplemental fluoride is to talk to your child’s dentist. If your city water supply is fluoridated, your dentist will be able to tell you how much fluoride is in it 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.