Most parents are familiar with fluoride as a key treatment for protecting their children’s teeth as well as their own. However, too much fluoride, especially in young children, can lead to tooth discoloration. The condition is known as dental fluorosis, and it’s important to stick to the advice of your dentist to avoid problems.
Everything You Need to Know About Dental Fluorosis
Fluoride is a mineral that’s used to strengthen tooth enamel to prevent cavities. It’s added to municipal water supplies and is a key ingredient in many dental care products. A pediatric dentist will also apply fluoride during regular checkups to strengthen kids’ teeth.
Children under age 8 who consume too much fluoride while their teeth are still developing may experience dental fluorosis. Mild cases include white specks on teeth; in more serious cases, there can be large, rough white spots. These form when enamel is hypermineralized by the fluoride so that it becomes too porous, erodes, and crumbles. Adults may also develop dental fluorosis from consuming large amounts of fluoride.
Your child’s dentist will recommend cosmetic dentistry solutions to resolve dental fluorosis. These include teeth whitening procedures, bonding composite resin over the white or weak spots, applying dental veneers, or a crown if decay is an issue.
Ask your child’s dentist about preferred dental care products. Children aged 3 and younger often use toothpaste with no fluoride or only use minimal amounts of fluoridated toothpaste. Smear only a small amount on the brush until your child is 3 years old. You can then apply a pea-sized amount with their dentist’s approval. You’ll want to keep dental care products out of reach and always monitor your child to ensure they don’t use too much on their own.
Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the fluoride in your local water supply. The recommended concentration is 0.7 mg/L. If levels are over 2 mg/L, use a separate water supply for your child. You can prevent dental fluorosis in infants using ready-to-feed formulas that don’t need to be mixed with water or avoid fluoridated water by using powdered and concentrated liquid formulas.
If it’s time for your child’s next checkup, turn to Dr. Robert N. Petrtyl, DDS. This dentist is backed by over 30 years of experience and proudly serves residents of Cincinnati, OH. Dr. Petrtyl offers a wide scope of services, including gum disease treatment, root canal therapy, and cosmetic dentistry services. Call (513) 554-4657 to schedule an exam or learn more about his practice online.