What is fluorosis and how does it affect teeth?
Most people are surprised when they discover that fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in both fresh and salt water, various foods and soil.
Fluoride prevents tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to the process of decay in your teeth. Fluoride can also prevent and even reverse tooth decay in some situations.
The benefits for our teeth mean that fluoride is in just about every toothpaste, and dentists sometimes provide further fluoride treatments in the forms of gels and varnishes if your teeth need extra protection.
In Australia, fluoride is added to 70% of all potable water – that means it’s in our tap water. The government program to fluoridate our water ensures that the entire community is protected from tooth decay through continual exposure to fluoride. This continues to be an effective, safe and low cost way to provide health benefits to all of the population for many governments.
If you are exposed to higher than optimal amounts of fluoride (for your physiology) it’s possible to develop dental fluorosis. In its most common form it can be seen as very white specks appearing on the teeth.
Fluorosis most commonly happens in childhood and with reduced exposure to fluoride and time, the white specks will disappear. It doesn’t effect many children and often goes unnoticed. This form of fluorosis tends to be caused by young children’s tendency to swallow toothpaste when they are brushing their teeth.
Any parent that is concerned about fluorosis, are advised to supervise or assist young children when they are brushing to prevent them using too much toothpaste and getting them to spit rather than swallow the toothpaste.
The recommended amount of toothpaste to use for children from a baby to three years of age is the size of a grain of rice. For young kids aged three to six years, you should measure an amount the size of a small pea.
If you are worried that your child is not getting enough fluoride protection then consult your dentist. There are simple and easy ways to increase fluoride to help your child have teeth that are more resistant to decay, to prevent tooth decay and avoid fillings.Leave a reply →