Dental Fluorosis is permanent scarring of the tooth enamel caused by an overdose of fluoride in children during tooth development. Dental fluorosis affects nearly one in every four Americans ages 6 to 49.
Q: What is a major cause of fluorosis?
A: In recent decades there has been an tremendous increase in fluoride through many sources. Water is one source. Fluoride is also a very common component in pesticides, which leave fluoride residue on fruits and vegetables. Another major cause of fluorosis is the overuse of fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouth rinses.
Q: What does dental fluorosis look like?
A: Dental fluorosis causes damage to a tooth. In severe cases there is chipping and erosion of the tooth.
Q: How is dental fluorosis treated?
A: Patients affected by fluorosis should find a dentist who is experienced in treatments such as teeth whitening, veneers, enamel microabrasion, and dental crowns.
Q: What are the least and most invasive treatments of fluorosis?
A: The least invasive is enamel microabrasion. The most invasive treatment involves placing a crown around the entire tooth.
Q: What is the key to preventing fluorosis?
A: Parental vigilance. It’s important to find a dentist who can educate parents about how much fluoride is in their water. At home, keep all fluoride-containing products such as toothpaste and supplements out of the reach of young children.
Q: What is the recommended tap water fluoride concentration?
A: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends an optimal fluoride concentration of 0.7 milligrams/liter.
Q: Is dental fluorosis a sign of toxicity?
A: It’s possible. Fluorosis shouldn’t be dismissed as merely a cosmetic defect.