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Do You Have Enamel Fluorosis?

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Enamel fluorosis is a condition, which affects the teeth when they are exposed to too much fluoride. It is especially so when the exposure occurs before they reach the age of 8 years. It is at this time when permanent teeth are still being formed. Here at Family Dental Care, we want to enlighten you on this issue including the possible treatment options.

When the teeth come in, those affected by fluorosis will have some discoloration. However, in some severe cases, the teeth may have:

  • Highly noticeable pits
  • An irregular surface
  • Dark brown or yellow stains

The Prevalence of Fluorosis

Fluorosis first caught the attention of scientists in the 20th century. At this time, they began to notice a high number of natives with brown stained teeth. They soon realized that high fluoride levels in the water were what caused it. However, it was also noticed that people with the stained teeth were quite resistant to dental cavities. Thus, a movement was born out of it. Fluoride would be introduced in safe levels to protect teeth but not cause brown stains.

About a quarter of Americans between 6 to 49 suffer from fluorosis. Kids aged 12-15 have it the most. However, only about 3% is considered severe or mild. Researchers have observed a rise in fluorosis since the mid-80s. Although it is not an illness, it can have profound psychological effects on those affected.

Causes

The primary cause is the misuse of products containing fluoride. In some cases, kids love the taste of toothpaste so much that they start to swallow it. However, other causes abound. For instance, taking more supplements with fluoride than is recommended. Besides that, consuming fluoride supplements while there is already enough of it in the tap water.

Fluoride Levels

There is already some fluoride in the water. In areas where fluoride levels go above two parts per million, the CDC requests parents to feed children bottled water. The EPA and the Health and Human Services Department have lowered the level of fluoride recommended after concerns that kids may be taking too much fluoride.

Symptoms

The symptoms of fluorosis can be tiny white specks or streaks that are hard to see. They can also be dark brown enamel with large pits that are hard to clean. Teeth that have not been affected by fluoride will be glossy and smooth.

Get in touch with your dentist when you begin to notice white streaks on the teeth of your kid. Additionally, if you start to observe spots on the teeth, get in touch with the dental office.

Since the 30s fluorosis has been rate by dentists in these categories:

  • Questionable- the sings of fluorosis are very few with only a few flecks on the teeth
  • Very mild- There are paper white areas across the teeth on less than 25% of all the teeth
  • Mild- there are opaque white areas on about 50% of all the teeth
  • Moderate- white opaqueregions, which affect over 50% of the teeth surface
  • Severe- all the enamel surfaces in the mouth have been affected

Treatment

In most cases, the fluorosis is so mild and unnoticeable that there is no need to treat the teeth

However, in severe cases, a variety of treatment options can be used. Most of them work to mask the stains. These techniques will entail:

  • Tooth whitening

It will help to get rid of surface stains. However, you should note that bleaching might make the teeth appear worse in the short term.

  • Bonding

It involves coating the surface of the teeth with a resin that bonds to the teeth. This resin is usually the color of natural teeth.

  • Veneers

It is the use of customized shells, which will cover the front teeth to make them look appealing.It is done when the fluorosis is quite severe.

Prevention

Vigilance by parents is the only way to deal with fluorosis in small kids. If your source water from the tap, call the public health authorities and ask about the fluoride content. If you utilize bottled water, the public health department can help to establish how much fluoride it contains. Once you know the fluoride your child gets from the tap, you can cut down on other sources of fluoride for the child.

Keep things such as supplements, fluoride toothpaste, and mouth rinses far away from your kid. If the child consumes too much fluoride at once, they may develop symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort

Although fluoride consumption does not lead to severe complications, it still causes hundreds of children to visit the emergency room annually.

When your child is using fluoride toothpaste, you need to monitor them. It is especially so if it is one of that fruit-flavored toothpaste. The child should only be allowed to use a pea-sized amount of paste. It will provide them with more than enough fluoride form their teeth.

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