Dental Fluorosis

DENTAL FLUOROSIS teeth

Last Updated August 26th, 2019

Increased ingestion of fluoride causes dental fluorosis. This leads to hypomineralization of tooth enamel. Patches of white streaks are noted on the teeth affected by dental fluorosis. The severity of this condition mainly depends on the duration of fluoride consumption. It should be noted that people suffering from dental fluorosis are resistant to dental cavities caused by bacteria.
Dental fluorosis can be treated by various methods namely teeth whitening, enamel microabrasion, dental veneer, topical fluoride, etc. On the other hand, certain preventive measures such as limiting toothpaste use, drinking fluoride free water, reducing sugary drinks, etc can help treat dental fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis treatments are generally covered by the medical insurance. So if you have a medical insurance you may not need to worry about the cost. Additionally, another 10 to 30 dollars may be required from your pocket for the treatment of dental fluorosis.
Generally, dental fluorosis effects remain for 10 years. This gradually worsens over a period of time and may become visible during the teens and early adulthood. There are several cosmetic treatments available but the damage caused to the enamel is usually permanent.

What Is Dental Fluorosis?

Fluorosis is a dental condition which affects the appearance and quality of dental enamel due to ingestion of excessive quantities of fluoride salts during the stage of formation of enamel, usually in early childhood. Fluoride salts such as sodium fluoride may be ingested through a variety of sources such as drinking water, toothpaste, and even fluoride supplements.

Normally, the surface texture of healthy teeth should be smooth and glossy. Their enamel should be a pale off-white in color and uniformly translucent. In mild cases of fluorosis, there may be small opaque patches or flecks in the enamel. At this stage, these features are of no more than cosmetic concern. In more severe cases, the enamel becomes more porous and weak. The enamel shows brown discoloration and may even be severely pitted. This involves permanent physical damage to the teeth.

 

Why Does It Happen?

DENTAL FLUOROSIS tooth decayThe severity of the condition depends on the duration of exposure to fluoride and the amounts of fluoride ingested. The enamel of our permanent teeth actually begins to develop early on in life, in the jawbone. Permanent teeth emerge after milk teeth have fallen out. If the body has been exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride during this time, this can affects the normal development of the enamel of permanent teeth. Exposure to high levels of fluoride after the enamel has developed, will not affect the teeth although it can have detrimental effects on the bones. This condition is known as skeletal fluorosis.

Dental fluorosis weakens the enamel and makes it more porous. In severe cases, the enamel is so weak that after the teeth erupt, they become damaged as a result of chewing or biting. Their surface texture becomes pitted and rough.

At low concentrations, soluble fluoride salts are considered beneficial for the teeth. The World Health Organisation recommends about 0.5 to 1.0 milligrams per liter of fluoride as a healthy range. Exposure to higher amounts, especially during early childhood, can lead to dental fluorosis. Fluoride may enter the body through a variety of sources, some of which are mentioned in the list below:

  • Drinking water.
  • Tea.
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • Toothpaste.
  • Mouthwash.
  • Fluoridated salt.
  • Pesticides.
  • Medications such as certain anti-depressants, steroids and antacids.
  • Industrial fumes.
  • Formula milk mixed with water containing fluoride.
  • Fluoride supplements.

 

How Do I Recognise Dental Fluorosis?

If you notice any of the following signs in your teeth, you may have fluorosis:

  • Small, whitish or opaque patches, specks or streaks in the enamel of your teeth.
  • Yellow or brown discoloration of enamel. The patches may even be gray or black in color.
  • Surface irregularities.
  • Pitted texture of tooth surface.
  • Abnormally shaped teeth.

 

What Are Some Possible Complications?

DENTAL FLUOROSIS enamelDental fluorosis is not a disease. It does not seriously impact the health of your teeth. In fact, having fluorosis makes your teeth less likely to suffer from cavities. In particularly severe cases, though, the surface of the teeth becomes rough and pitted. Hence, dental fluorosis can be embarrassing because disfigures the teeth.

Complications are likely to arise not because of the enamel fluorosis itself but because of the effects of fluoride absorption in other parts of the body. Ingesting large amounts of fluoride can lead to a condition known as fluoride toxicity which can produce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

 

How Is Dental Fluorosis Diagnosed?

Not all tooth discoloration is necessarily fluoride-related. If your child has discolored teeth, it could be a case of dental fluorosis, but it could also be a sign of tooth decay. A visit to the dentist should clarify the nature of the condition. This may involve a simple visual and physical examination of the teeth and gums. The medical history may be relevant in case the patient has been taking fluoride supplementation.

 

How Can It Be Treated Or Prevented?

DENTAL FLUOROSIS teethDental fluorosis has limited treatment options.

In case of mild fluorosis, bleaching can be done in order to lighten the light brown stains on the teeth. Microabrasion can be performed in case of moderate fluorosis. In this procedure, the outermost affected layer of the enamel is abraded in an acidic environment.

In some cases, tooth-colored restorations (composite restorations) can be combined with microabrasion as a treatment modality. Esthetic veneers (a thin layer of material placed over the tooth) can be employed to cover the brownish stains and discoloration. In severe cases, prosthetic crowns are used to provide strength and esthetics to the damaged tooth.

Prevention of dental fluorosis is mainly preventing the chronic ingestion of high amount of fluorides during the teeth forming years. As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the reference dose of fluoride exposure is 0.06 mg fluoride/kg/ day.

Counseling of parents can help in preventing and spreading awareness about the deleterious effects of excessive fluoride exposure. Supervising children during the use of fluoridated dental products is usually advised in order to prevent their accidental swallowing.

 

Facts

  • Freezing or boiling water does not remove fluoride. Methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, deionization etc. can remove the fluoride content to a large extent.
  • Fluorosis usually occurs in children with excessive fluoride ingestion during the teeth forming years (8 years and above).

Facts

  • As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should visit the dentist regularly by their first birthday.
  • As per the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline value for fluoride in water, chronic exposure to fluoride level more than 1.5mg/liter of water can cause fluorosis.

Facts

  • Fluorosis can affect the bones of the body (skeletal system) as well.
  • The level of fluoridation is typically lesser in high-temperature regions as individuals habitually drink more water.

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Increased ingestion of fluoride causes dental fluorosis. This leads to hypomineralization of tooth enamel. Patches of white streaks are noted on the teeth affected by dental fluorosis. The severity of this condition mainly depends on the duration of fluoride consumption. It should be noted that people suffering from dental fluorosis are resistant to dental cavities caused by bacteria.
Dental fluorosis can be treated by various methods namely teeth whitening, enamel microabrasion, dental veneer, topical fluoride, etc. On the other hand, certain preventive measures such as limiting toothpaste use, drinking fluoride free water, reducing sugary drinks, etc can help treat dental fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis treatments are generally covered by the medical insurance. So if you have a medical insurance you may not need to worry about the cost. Additionally, another 10 to 30 dollars may be required from your pocket for the treatment of dental fluorosis.
Generally, dental fluorosis effects remain for 10 years. This gradually worsens over a period of time and may become visible during the teens and early adulthood. There are several cosmetic treatments available but the damage caused to the enamel is usually permanent.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Dental fluorosis can make your teeth brittle and prone to issues such as cavities, chipping, fracture etc. Consulting a dentist can help you arrest the problem at the initial stage.
  • Be careful about the fluoride levels in the drinking water at home and in your child’s school. You can use filters with reverse osmosis techniques to reduce the high levels of fluoride (if present).
  • Regulate the amount of fluoridated toothpaste used by your kids. Children below 3 years of age should use a smear of toothpaste and children above that age group can use a pea-sized amount.
Don'ts
  • Keep dental products in the reach of children. This will prevent the accidental ingestion of fluoride.
  • Use a fluoride mouth rinse without the consent of a registered dental practitioner.
  • Swallow fluoridated toothpaste. Teach children the correct way to brush.

 

 

 

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How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
hepatitis B envelope antigen
Hepatitis B Envelope Antigen (HBeAg) The HBeAg or hepatitis B envelope antigen test is a screening test used to diagnose the onset of…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
Tachycardia heart
Cardiac Profile Cardiac profile is panel of blood tests performed to check cholesterol level and other heart disease markers to…
Smiling-happy-pretty-woman-with-flowers
Laughter Therapy– The Best Medicine for Healthy Living Read how laughter influences your stress hormones, belly fat, heart health, and more. Use these simple tips to…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
Elderberry: More than just a folk medicine for cold and sinusitis While the raw elderberry can be a hazard, when consumed in the form of teas and syrup, elderberry…
Oxidative Stress: Understanding the most lethal phenomenon happening in your body right now Free radicals cause damage to the body, which is known as oxidation.  The amount of oxidation caused by…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
shoudler exercises
Keep your shoulders pain-free with these shoulder exercises Shoulder exercises are important in order to prevent chronic back and neck pain. Learn more about how you…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…