Fluorosis is a dental condition that affects the appearance of tooth enamel. It usually occurs in younger children who may consume excessive fluoride levels incidentally in toothpaste or mouthwash.
Unknowingly, fluoride can be found in everyday consumables such as:
- Fluoridated drinking water
- Fluoride-fortified fruit juices
- Soft drinks
In these cases, governing organisations regularly use fluoride in food and beverages. Fluoride exists naturally in water, which varies on geographic location.
Fluoride minerals can also be found naturally in fish, rice, and even tea foods.
What are the symptoms of fluorosis?
Affected teeth appear mildly discoloured, which may include the following:
- The irregular surface colour of teeth, such as faint white lines
- Yellow or brown staining on teeth
- The formation of pits
In most cases, Fluorosis doesn’t affect the health of your teeth. It isn’t a form of oral disease or a sign of decay. However, fluorosis is misinterpreted as staining and requires a thorough professional dental examination to diagnose.
What causes fluorosis?
In most cases, fluorosis occurs in younger children while teeth are growing. Children are most susceptible as they may incidentally consume excessive fluoride levels over an extended time.
New teeth are more vulnerable to this while underneath the gum. Consequently, this is why children are affected more often. Once new adult teeth breach through the gum, they are less likely to be affected by Fluorosis.
How do I prevent fluorosis from developing in my child?
During earlier years of brushing, monitoring your child’s habits is vital. Whenever possible, prevent your child from using excessive amounts of toothpaste and avoid swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash. A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is the recommended amount.
Try encouraging your child to brush twice a day for two minutes. Flossing once a day is also recommended.
For children under six, try to avoid fluoride mouthwash. Even though mouthwash is a good habit for everybody, young children are more likely to accidentally swallow mouthwash as they haven’t appropriately developed their swallowing reflexes.
What is severe dental fluorosis?
Severe dental fluorosis is a condition that occurs when there is excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development, typically in childhood. It is characterized by significant enamel hypoplasia, which means that the enamel on the teeth is poorly formed and may appear pitted, stained, or have brown or black spots.
The severity of dental fluorosis can vary, with mild cases showing faint white lines or streaks on the enamel and severe cases resulting in extensive enamel damage and discolouration.
To identify severe dental fluorosis, dentists and dental professionals examine the teeth for specific signs. These signs include deeply stained or discoloured enamel, rough or pitted surfaces, and sometimes even enamel loss, leading to tooth sensitivity and an increased risk of cavities.
In severe cases, the teeth may have a mottled or blotchy appearance, making them visually distinct from healthy teeth.
Is fluoride in tap water & can that affect my teeth?
Fluoride is a natural element in water, including both fresh and seawater.
Beginning in Australia in the 1960s, scientists started including additional fluoride into the public water supply at a safe level. This process is known as water fluoridation. The purpose is to improve oral health throughout the community, regardless of age, income, or lifestyle.
As a result, Water Fluoridation delivers the oral advantages of fluoride to help reduce tooth decay and gum disease.
The process in Australia is performed under strict management and compliance measures (Safe Drinking Water Act 2003), allowing additional fluoride in water to be safe to drink.
A recent study by The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC’s) regarding the safety and effectiveness of Water Fluoridation concluded that fluoridation provides a safe and efficient method of reducing tooth decay.
As a result of its benefits for adults and children, Water Fluoridation has been campaigned internationally by recognised organisations in Australia and worldwide. A few include; the World Health Organization, Australian Medical Association, and the Australian Dental Association.
How do I treat fluorosis, or what can a dentist near me do to treat fluorosis?
In most cases, Fluorosis is mild, with no dental treatment necessary.
Cosmetic dentists can use various dental treatments to help mask teeth affected by fluorosis.
When dentists identify staining on a patient’s teeth, dentists can perform deep cleaning and polishing techniques during a dental check-up and cleaning.
It is vital to consult a dentist for professional diagnosis and recommendations specific to your needs before undergoing any procedures.
- Deep cleaning and polishing can help to remove surface stains. Combining a deep clean with dental Teeth Whitening can have significant improvements. Although, teeth whitening can temporarily make the appearance of fluorosis more prominent. Therefore, patients seeking optimum results may recommend consecutive teeth whitening treatments.
- Composite or Porcelain Veneers are a highly effective method since this procedure can instantly improve the appearance of your smile. Veneers will cover the face of each treated tooth, removing the appearance of past fluorosis. Veneers also improve teeth’ shape and size, fill minor gaps, overall white colour (shade), and align.
- Bonding Edge Bonding is a popular, effective method that coats the tooth or affected area with a solid natural-looking resin on top of your enamel. The difference between bonding and composite veneers is that bonding only covers a small part of the tooth. In comparison, composite veneers cover the entire visual area of the tooth.
- Dental Crowns are porcelain teeth covering the whole natural tooth after being shaved down to a post-like structure to hold the crown. This process may depend upon the patient’s functional and aesthetic needs, which a dentist determines. Porcelain Veneers differ from Dental Crowns since they only cover the front of the tooth and are less invasive. Porcelain Veneers are less invasive since they do not require as much tooth to be shaven down.
Book in with a dentist near me regarding dental fluorosis
If you suspect you are suffering from dental fluorosis, seeking a professional diagnosis and treatment from a dentist is crucial. Amazing Smiles has family-friendly dental clinics on the Gold Coast, Jimboomba, Logan, Wynnum, and Bray Park. Our experienced team can provide comprehensive care for dental fluorosis and help manage your oral health. We offer various general, restorative, and cosmetic dental services to address your needs.
Book an appointment today to receive personalized care and regain a healthy and confident smile.