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Dental fluorosis occurs when white streaks or lines appear on the vestibular tooth surface. It happens when children consume an excessive amount of fluoride from different sources over the time when teeth are developing under the gums. After your teeth have already erupted you can’t develop fluorosis.
Fluorosis can’t affect the health of your teeth, it’s not a disease. Sometimes the lines of fluorosis are so insignificant that only your dentist may notice it during the dental examination. Dental fluorosis doesn’t affect the function of the tooth, it can even make the tooth more resistant to tooth decay.
The chances of getting fluorosis exist only until the age of 8. That is because until this age teeth are still developing under the gums. The best thing to do is to consume a moderate amount of fluoride. Your child’s pediatrician, dentist or physician should calculate the right amount of fluoride that your child needs.
Here are some things you can do at home to avoid fluorosis:
For infants and children under 3 years:
- Breastfeeding. Human milk is very important for all infants. It is very low in fluoride. Even mothers who consume large amounts of fluoride can’t pass significant amounts of fluoride to their child.
- If your baby is fed with infant formula that requires water, you may increase the possibility of developing mild enamel fluorosis. This is because local cities regularly add fluoride to their water sources. Fluoridating water has not been proven to have negative effects on human health, and most cities fluoridate their water to reduce tooth decay cases in the population.
- Try using liquid or powdered formula mixed with fluoride-free water. Such waters are usually labeled as demineralized, deionized, distilled or purified.
- Ready-to-feed formula. These formulas have reduced amounts of fluoride and are meant to reduce chances of developing dental fluorosis.
- When your baby’s teeth start to erupt, brush them very thoroughly at least twice a day.
- Make sure your child is brushing correctly and that he uses the right amount of toothpaste (no more than a grain of rice or smear size).
For children from 3 to 8 years old:
- Brush your child’s teeth twice a day.
- You should use the pea-sized size of fluoride toothpaste for children who are from 3 to 6 years old.
- You need to minimize the possibility of your child swallowing fluoridated toothpaste, so try to monitor your child’s brushing habits.
- It is not recommended to use fluoridated mouth rinses for someone who is under 6 years old.Children at this age don’t have a swallowing reflex developed so they may swallow more rinse than they spit out.
- In some areas, public water systems exceed 2.0 mg/L fluoride levels in water. In such places, you should get an alternative water source in order to reduce fluoride levels and protect your child from fluorosis. If your natural water exceeds the fluoride level you will be notified.
- You should test your water’s fluoride levels at least once a year, especially if you are connected to a private well. Provide your dentist with the results of water testing so you get all the information about your family’s fluoride needs.
- If your dentist or physician prescribes you supplemental fluoride then use it as it is recommended. Such supplements are mostly recommended for kids from 6 months to 16 years old. Especially if they live in non-fluoridated water areas and if they have a high possibility of getting tooth decay. Follow your supplement schedule of dietary fluoride.