Dental fluorosis refers to changes in a tooth’s enamel caused by overexposure to fluoride. These changes can be extremely mild to severe in appearance: mild cases exhibit white specks or spots, usually near the bottom edge of the tooth, and severe cases result in brown stains and a pitted texture.
The good news? If you’re over 8 years old and haven’t noticed signs of it yet, you’re in the clear. Fluorosis cannot affect anyone after age 8.
The bad news? Your kids are at risk, depending on their age.
What is Fluorosis?
Dental fluorosis is caused when there is too much fluoride intake during the formation of new teeth under the gum line. Again, only children under age 8 are at risk, as all permanent teeth have come in at that point.
So where is this fluoride coming from, you ask? Here are the main sources:
- Tap water in fluoridated communities
- Toothpaste (when swallowed by young children)
- Food or beverages processed with fluoridated water
- Prescription drops or tablets that include fluoride
- Other dental products like mouthwash
If you live in the Sugar Land area, the water is fluoridated to help prevent tooth decay (this practice is endorsed by the American Dental Association). This drinking water accounts for approximately 75% of our fluoride intake—but it’s the other 25% parents should be concerned about.
How to Avoid it
If you do have young children, supervise them when they brush their teeth. Until about age 6, children have poor control of their swallowing reflex. Choose a fluoride-free toothpaste when they’re still learning, and coach them to spit out all the toothpaste while brushing.
If you have questions about your child’s fluoride intake, be sure to address them with your dentist the next time either you or your child has an appointment. The dentist can provide instructions specific to your child’s dental needs.
Need to schedule that next appointment? Contact us here at A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe. We love serving our Sugar Land community!