Health Hazards of Long Term Exposure to Fluoride

Excessive exposure to high amount of fluoride during tooth development (childhood) can result in staining of teeth. This condition is known as fluorosis. It is hard to see and can only be detected by dentist. This article discusses the causes, symptoms and the prevention of dental fluorosis.

florosisChildren who are affected by fluorosis, the teeth may appear mild discolored when the permanent teeth begin to come in. However, in severe cases teeth may have;

  • Stains that ranges from yellow to dark brown.
  • Rough enamel that makes difficult to clean.
  • Surface irregularities
  • Pits that are clearly noticeable.

Severity of symptoms depends on the child’s age, bone growth, weight and diet.

The major cause of dental fluorosis is excessive exposure to fluoride. It happens when fluoride is used in an inappropriate way, like use of fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwashes. Moreover, children who suffer from fluorosis may have been exposed to multiple fluoride sources, like food water and excess toothpaste. Drinking water is the main source of fluorosis. If the water contains high amount of fluoride then there are more chances of getting affected by dental fluorosis.
The teeth of children above 8 years of age and adults cannot develop fluorosis.

In many cases, children develops fluorosis mostly by swallowing toothpaste. To prevent your child from this condition, follow these guidelines:

  • Use only pea size amount of toothpaste
  • Supervise when your child brush.
  • In addition, make sure to teach them how to spit the toothpaste.
  • Never let your child to brush his/her teeth more than twice.
  • As an encouragement for spitting, avoid flavored toothpastes.
  • Keep all fluoride products like toothpastes, mouthwashes and supplements out of reach of children.