Fluoride is one of the best advancements in preventing tooth decay, however fluoride in excess can cause dental fluorosis, which is a common disorder characterized by tooth discolouration. In reasonable amounts, fluoride is great at protecting the teeth from cavities and even reversing the early stages of tooth decay, but too much of it will cause teeth to appear stained.
For most people, drinking tap water is their main source of fluoride. Tap water in Ottawa contains an average of 0.70 milligrams of fluoride per litre, in accordance with a study carried out by Health Canada. Other common sources of fluoride are toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental office fluoride treatments. In early childhood, permanent teeth are still forming under the gums, so too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, meaning that when they come in, they will be discoloured. After the permanent teeth have come in, fluoride will no longer cause discolouration.
While only cosmetic, dental fluorosis can steal the bright smile of a child. Discolouration caused by it can range from barely noticeable, to severe discolouration with a patchy brown appearance. To minimize the risk of dental fluorosis in children’s teeth, use a small amount of toothpaste, and always ensure that they spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it.
If you have any questions about dental fluorosis, feel free to contact us here at the Rideau Dental Centre by calling 613-230-7475.