Fluorosis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment
Fluoride is a mineral found in many household substances such as toothpaste, mouthwash, various supplements, and even in our regular drinking water. If a child or young adult consumes a high amount of fluoride during the stage of their teeth's formation, it results in the condition named fluorosis.
Fluorosis can affect the individual’s teeth growth, cause discoloration, and even create irregularities on the surface. However, fluorosis does not occur once all the permanent teeth have sprouted. So, if you have a child whose permanent teeth haven’t yet formed, you should save them from overexposure to fluoride.
There are no external signs of mild fluorosis. Such a condition can only be identified by a professional. These are the common symptoms of fluorosis:
Moderate fluorosis is often marked by discoloration in the teeth in the form of lines or spots.Severe levels of fluorosis can cause the teeth to turn brown or have black spots. It can also turn the surface of the tooth uneven.
Since overexposure to fluoride is the primary cause of this condition, the dentist will ask about your child’s fluoride intake. In addition, they might check your child's teeth and gums and take certain x-rays to diagnose whether it’s fluorosis or not.
However, not every form of tooth discoloration is caused by fluorosis. The enamel of the teeth in young children can also be affected in case of high fevers or trauma, and the discoloration may happen. So regardless of the fluoride intake of your child, make sure to get any form of tooth discoloration checked at the dentist.
Make sure your child spits thoroughly after brushing. There are various types of toothpaste that brand themselves as consumable, but these can often lead to high fluoride levels in the body. Also, make sure to keep all products containing fluoride out of your child’s reach.
In case your child has been asked to take fluoride supplements, you need to ensure that the drinking water does not contain fluoride.
In the case of mild fluorosis, the chances are that your child will not need any treatment at all. However, for moderate-to-severe fluorosis, the treatment is majorly aimed at masking the stains. There are a variety of treatment techniques for fluorosis, ranging from teeth whitening procedures to bonding, and for more severe cases, crown and veneer replacement.
Remember, teeth affected by fluorosis are not diseased or result in cavities because fluorosis affects only the appearance of teeth. However, stay vigilant and contact your dentist if you notice that your child’s teeth have white streaks or spots.
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