Information by Age Group:
0-12 Months 1-4 Years 5-10 Years 11+ Years General

Enamel Fluorosis

What is enamel fluorosis?

Enamel fluorosis is a condition in which your child receives too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. This can result in defects in tooth enamel.

Why is enamel fluorosis a concern?

In most mild cases, fluorosis appears as tiny white specks or streaks that are often unnoticeable. In severe cases, enamel fluorosis causes the teeth to discolor or appear brown. In this case, the enamel may be rough, pitted and hard to clean. Visit your dentist to assess this problem.

How does a child get enamel fluorosis?

By swallowing too much fluoride for the child's size and weight during the years of tooth development. This can happen in several different ways. First, a child may take more of a fluoride supplement than the amount prescribed. Second, the child may take a fluoride supplement when there is already an optimal amount of fluoride in the drinking water. Third, some children simply like the taste of fluoridated toothpaste. They may use too much toothpaste, and swallow it instead of spitting it out.

How can enamel fluorosis be prevented?

Discuss different methods with your dentist. They can advise you as to how much fluoride is present in your drinking water. In addition, monitor your child’s use of fluoridated toothpaste. The recommended amount that is sufficient for fluoride protection is often a pea-sized amount for children ages 5 and up. It is important to teach your child to spit out the toothpaste and not swallow after brushing.

Should I just avoid fluorides for my child altogether?

Fluoride is important in preventing tooth decay and helps your child keep a healthy smile for a lifetime. Ensure that your child gets enough fluoride but not too much. Your dentist can help determine how much fluoride your child requires.

Can enamel fluorosis be treated?

The appearance of teeth with severe enamel flurorosis can be greatly improved by a variety of treatment in esthetic dentistry. Talk to your dentist about different options for your child.
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