Fluorosis, or dental fluorosis, is a condition that affects the teeth, due to exposure in excessive amounts to fluoride compounds, especially in the first few years of your life, when permanent teeth are being formed. This leads to mild discoloration of the teeth, which may eventually lead to staining – from off-white to yellowish to brown. In more extreme cases, however, it may lead to irregularities on the teeth surface, noticeable pits and enamel erosion.
Though it is not a disease as such, it can cause psychological problems which may be hard to treat. Vigilance to the water and foods being consumed in the growing years is essential in this regard.
- The major cause is the usage of toothpastes and mouthwashes which have high fluoride content. A large number of cases also report children swallowing the toothpaste, which is especially detrimental.
- Other causes may include taking fluoride supplements and thus increasing overall intake of fluoride compounds substantially, as they may also be a part of your drinking water or fluoride-fortified juices.
The teeth unaffected by fluorosis, or fluoride contamination, should ideally appear to be smooth, glossy and be of a pale creamy whitish hue. In cases where this does not happen, you might suspect fluorosis if a number of symptoms appear.
- Teeth Discoloration: The major symptoms of fluorosis include tiny white marks or streaks that may escalate to yellowish and eventually dark brown stains.
- Enamel Problems: Other symptoms include pitted enamel, or eroding enamel (in extreme cases), that are very difficult to clean.