You’ve probably heard that fluoride is good for your teeth, and you would be correct in that assumption! But too much of anything can be a bad thing. Fluorosis is a cosmetic tooth condition that is caused by overexposure to fluoride in the first eight years of life, when most permanent teeth are formed. This is why we always suggest children refrain from using mouthwash until they are ten years old.
The fluorosis condition can be described as a discoloration of the teeth that look white splotches.
Fluorosis became prevalent in the early 20th century. Originally know as “Colorado Brown Stains” which popped on residents of Colorado Springs. This was caused by the high fluoride content of the local water supply. Surprisingly, while residents appeared to have nasty stains on their teeth, they were particularly resistant to cavities. This actually sparked the public movement to filter our water and regulate fluoride levels in local water supplies.
Fluorosis is a condition that affects nearly 1 in every 4 Americans. The condition is most prevalent in children age 12 to 15. The large majority of cases are considered mild with only 2% delving into the “moderate” range. Although the condition is relatively harmless, it can affect your self confidence and cause added stress, especially for teenagers.
Cause of Fluorosis
While Fluorosis was originally caused by high-levels of fluoride in drinking water, the primary cause in the modern age is the excessive use of fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Sometimes young children enjoy the taste of mouthwash or they like to do what their parents are doing but you should know that this causes fluorosis. Additionally, there are some juices that contain added fluoride; check your labels!
Fluorosis is primarily a cosmetic condition and is easily treatable. In mild cases the discoloration will go away on it’s one in time. If you’d like to expedite the recovery, here are some possible treatments.
- Over-the-counter tooth whitening strips are a good first option, however you do run the risk of worsening the condition.
- Bonding: In serious cases, patients can undergo a bonding procedure. This coats the tooth with a hard resin that protects the enamel.
If you or your child is suffering from fluorosis make an appointment and we will go over your options for treatment.