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What is dental fluorosis?
Fluorosis is a public health problem that affects children in many endemic areas in different regions of the world.
It was discovered in the 1940s and found that water with a high fluoride content in the tooth enamel caused an abnormal staining. After examining this fact, it was discovered that the cause of these tooth changes was the excessive intake of fluoride during the formation of the tooth enamel; that is in childhood.
“For many years it has been assumed that fluorosis was only an aesthetic problem and not a health problem. However, exposure to high fluoride concentrations affects the entire body, not just the cells of the tooth. “
Manifestations of fluorosis
Dental fluorosis can manifest itself in different ways depending on the severity or stage of the disease. In most cases the fluorosis is mild and shows itself in very fine white lines on the teeth.
In the most severe cases, the teeth are brittle, the surface of the tooth enamel becomes irregular and brown spots appear. Fluorosis is also known as a speckled tooth disease, precisely because of these characteristic brown spots.
“Fluoride is an important mineral that protects teeth and prevents tooth decay. However, excessive amounts of fluoride prevent normal tooth enamel maturation. A disruption occurs when the tooth is mineralized and becomes more porous. The most vulnerable stage ranges from birth to the age of 6-8 years. “
Fluorine in our body is mainly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. When we take fluoride orally, part of it remains in the mouth fluids and can be built into the teeth, but most of it gets into the stomach and is absorbed in the gut.
A study conducted in Ukraine examined the health of children affected by tooth fluorosis. They concluded that children who presented this pathology had much weaker and precarious health compared to children without fluorosis.
In this sense, they showed more gastrointestinal, respiratory, bone and muscle disorders, mental disorders, disorders of the nervous system, reduced body size, more frequent occurrence of caries, etc.
“Therefore, fluorosis is not just a dental problem. Excess fluoride can also cause important bone disorders. And now it is known that it is also a sign of a thyroid disorder. “
Amount of fluoride required
“The amount of fluoride that is needed in our body is not far from the toxic amount. For one thing, it is necessary to incorporate a sufficient dose to prevent teeth deterioration and tooth decay. On the other hand, an excessive amount of fluoride can cause fluorosis. “
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the use of fluoride is recommended within safe limits. Public health measures are necessary so that people living in areas where fluoride is insufficient contain an adequate dose of this substance. It is also necessary to remove excess fluoride in drinking water in these endemic areas of fluorosis.
In Europe, the amount of fluoride that dentifrices can carry is regulated to prevent the occurrence of fluorosis. And above all toothpastes for children. It is prohibited to market toothpastes with more than 1500 ppm fluorine. In addition, people with more than 1000 ppm fluorine must put a warning on the label to be intended for adults only.
Regarding treatment, it is important to know that tooth fluorosis is an irreversible process. There is no definitive solution to improve the condition of the tooth. For aesthetic reasons, you can use a few procedures that improve the appearance. For example:
It is possible to lighten brown spots with special agents such as hydrogen peroxide. Depending on the level of fluorosis, whitening can be more or less effective. It needs to be done regularly by a dentist.
Aesthetic veneers can be used. These change the appearance of the tooth with materials that perfectly mimic the shape and color of natural teeth.
Prevention of fluorosis
To prevent this disease from occurring, it is important to consider the fluoride content of the water that is drunk, toothpaste, and whether or not the child is receiving fluoride supplements. This way we can ensure an adequate level and avoid excessive intake.
It is recommended to always monitor the brushing of the smallest. Parents should make sure that children don’t use too much toothpaste and learn to spit and not swallow them. The same goes for mouthwash. It is also recommended to visit the dentist regularly and regularly.