Keep Your Child’s Teeth Safe from Fluorosis

March 12, 2012

Fluoride is a necessary component of oral health to help strengthen your tooth enamel and fight decay. So you may think that the more fluoride you consume, the stronger and healthier your teeth will be. For children, however, an excessive amount of fluoride can ruin the appearance of their teeth. Dr. Greenfield can help protect your child’s teeth from fluorosis and mask the cosmetic defects the condition causes.

 What is Fluorosis?

As teeth develop, the enamel is weaker and fluoride can be too harsh. As a result, the fluoride can damage the developing cells and stain or discolor the enamel. Fluorosis is mostly a cosmetic condition. Mild cases cause small white spots on the inside of the enamel, while severe cases show black stains. Major fluorosis can also make the enamel surface rough, pitted, and hard to clean.

How Can I Prevent Fluorosis?

Fluorosis generally develops in children under age eight, as teeth form under the gums and begin to erupt. More than 70 percent of fluorosis cases are caused by swallowing fluoride toothpaste. Try these tips to protect your child’s teeth against the damaging consequences of fluorosis:

  • Watch the fluoride intake. About 75 percent of your fluoride intake comes from drinking water and processed beverages. Swallowing additional fluoride will expose developing teeth to too much of the mineral.
  • Know when to use fluoride. It’s important to clean teeth as soon as they begin to develop, but children under age two should not use fluoridated toothpaste. Instead, you should gently brush their teeth with a soft brush and plain water.
  • Monitor brushing behaviors. Young children only need a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Some kids like the taste of their toothpaste and may use too much or swallow it. Watch your children to make sure they are using the appropriate amount of fluoridated toothpaste and spitting it out after brushing.

Dr. Greenfield may recommend topical fluoride doses to ensure proper and safe protection for your child’s teeth. To check your child’s mouth for signs of fluorosis, contact Dr. Greenfield at Lake Orion Family Dentistry at (248) 693-6213. He can treat fluorosis with cosmetic treatments like whitening or veneers. We welcome patients from Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, and the surrounding communities.

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