We all know that using fluoride on our teeth can help strengthen it and protect it from decay. This is why most local water supplies have added fluoride in them – to help children develop naturally strong teeth. There are times however when the level of fluoride in the water is too high, like in Colorado Springs, and this is what leads to what is called fluorosis.
Fluorosis is a dental condition that is brought about by the ingestion of too much fluoride into the system during the first few years of a person’s life. This usually manifests itself in the form of brown stains on the teeth as well as surface irregularities. If the fluorosis is rather mild, only your dentist can detect the signs since these usually show up as white streaks or spots on your teeth.
This usually happens when a child’s permanent teeth start erupting, and because they took in too much fluoride as these were beginning to come in. When your dentist notices the streaks and spots on your child’s teeth, they will often ask about the fluoride intake of the child to determine if these discolorations are indeed caused by fluorosis. They will also have x-rays taken to see if there are no other problems aside from these stains.
Treatments for Fluorosis
While fluorosis is not something to worry about, and is in fact a superficial problem that affects only the appearance of the tooth and not its health, some find it rather off-putting and wish to have something done to it. Since the effects of fluorosis are permanent, with the streaks possibly darkening over time, the only recourse a person has is to seek cosmetic dental procedures to make their teeth look better. Some of the options that you can turn to in this case, include teeth whitening procedures, tooth bonding, crowns, and veneers.
Teeth whitening solutions are often the first option for this problem. This is when the discoloration and deformities are not that severe. For more severe problems, you can turn to tooth bonding, and crowns. Veneers are often used when the stains and warps make the teeth look rather unsightly.
Prevention of Fluorosis
For those who have children who may be prone to such a problem, you can prevent fluorosis by carefully watching their fluoride intake. Vigilance is the key to prevention, and one way to ensure that your child does not get fluorosis is to teach them the proper use of fluoride toothpastes. Have them use only a small, pea-sized portion every time they brush their teeth, and to spit after each brushing (not swallow). Do not use flavored toothpastes at this point since this will encourage your kid to swallow rather than to spit out the fluoridated toothpaste.
Also, try to keep any fluoride enriched products out of their reach to ensure that they do not go beyond the recommended daily intake (which is between .25 and 1 milligram for kids). Try to find out how much fluoride is in your drinking water to ensure that you do stay within the allowable, safe limits. Do not have your child take in fluoride supplements as well, unless prescribed by your dentist.