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Fluoride Recommendations

What is enamel fluorosis?

A child may face the condition called enamel fluorosis if he or she gets too much fluoride during the years of tooth development (while they are growing in the jawbones). Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel. It shows up as white, yellow or brown splotches, streaks or lines, usually on the front teeth.



Why is enamel fluorosis a concern?

In severe cases of enamel fluorosis, the appearance of the teeth is marred by discoloration or brown markings. The enamel may be pitted, rough, and hard to clean, therefore setting those teeth up for increased risk of decay. In mild cases of fluorosis, the tiny white specks or streaks are often unnoticeable.



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 (while they are growing in the jawbones). This can happen in several different ways:


A child may take more of a fluoride supplement than the optimum amount they need (sometimes pediatricians do not take a thorough fluoride history and OVER prescribe!)

The child may take a fluoride supplement when there is already an optimal amount of fluoride in the drinking water.

Some children simply like the taste of fluoridated toothpaste. They may use too much toothpaste, then swallow it instead of spitting it out.


How can enamel fluorosis be prevented?

First, Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina can determine the appropriate fluoride supplementation, if any, that should be given. Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina may choose to test the level of fluoride in your child’s source of drinking water. After he knows how much fluoride your child receives from their water supply, he will decide if your child needs a fluoride supplement.


Second, monitor your child’s use of fluoridated toothpaste. A pea-sized amount on the brush is plenty for fluoride protection. Teach your child to SPIT out the toothpaste; do NOT swallow it, after brushing. Unless Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina advises it, don’t use fluoridated toothpaste until your child is age 2-3.



Should I avoid fluorides all together for my child?

NO! Fluoride prevents tooth decay. It is an important part of helping your child keep a healthy smile for a lifetime. Getting enough – but not too much – fluoride can be easily accomplished with the help of Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina.



Can enamel fluorosis be treated?

Once fluoride is part of the tooth enamel, it can’t be taken out. But the appearance of teeth affected by fluorosis can be greatly improved by a variety of treatments Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina provides. If your child suffers from severe enamel fluorosis, Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina can tell you about dental techniques that enhance your child’s smile and self-confidence!

Our mission is to provide specialized and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents in a friendly, safe, and state-of-the-art environment with a focus on prevention and education for the families. Dr. Elliott, Dr. Molina, and our TEAM are here to positively change this generation’s view of going to the dentist, one child at a time.

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