Most of us understand that fluoride is immensely beneficial to our oral health. This is because it strengthens our teeth and makes them more resilient against decay. Consequently, many water supplies have been infused with fluoride to promote the development of strong teeth. However, what happens when one ingests too much fluoride?
Fluorosis occurs as the result of ingesting too much fluoride too early in life. The first signs of fluorosis are typically brown stains and flaws across the surfaces of the teeth. See your dentist right away if this problem occurs, as they will most likely be able to treat the condition outright.
If a child consumes too much fluoride as their permanent set of teeth are coming in, they may develop fluorosis. After taking them to a dentist and confirming they have the condition you may need to have your child x-rayed to check if the problem has progressed to any areas other than the surface of their teeth. Further treatment protocol will be outlined in the next section.
With fluorosis, it is important to remember that the problem is not a life-threatening one. Rather, it is merely cosmetic and is in no way reflective of the child’s health. This is a good thing because there are a wealth of cosmetic treatment options that are relatively simple: teeth whitening, crowns, tooth bonding, and veneers. If fluorosis is caught early, teeth whitening may be the best solution. This is due to the fact that the discoloration has yet to really set in. However, if the problem is left untreated then bonding or a crown may be required.
If you have children and want to protect them from the social trauma that could potentially result from such a condition, the best way to help them is to take note of their fluoride intake. By maintaining careful watch, you can engage in a little preventative maintenance that will afford you ample time to address the problem just after it occurs. When showing your children how to measure out their fluoride, make sure the amount they are putting on their toothbrush is not larger than a pea. Additionally, get them into the habit of spitting after they brush, as one should never swallow fluoride. One effective means of preventing swallowing is forgoing flavored toothpaste for something much less enticing. Finally, take extra care to restrict your child’s access to other household items containing fluoride. This will ensure that they do not accidentally ingest anything without you knowing about it.