What is fluorosis and what are its symptoms?
Fluorosis is a condition caused by excessive fluoride intake during the development of a child's teeth. While it can be beneficial for maintaining dental health, it can be dangerous if taken with a large amount of fluoride. Symptoms of dental fluorosis include white spots and streaks on the teeth, discoloration, increased staining and roughness, holey enamel and even brittleness. Most of these symptoms are purely cosmetic, but still, affect self-esteem as they can lead to brown stains on the teeth. It is important to take precautions and keep fluoride intake low.
While fluorosis can affect both permanent and baby teeth, there are some important differences between the two. In general, fluorosis is more pronounced in permanent teeth than in baby teeth because the enamel is less developed with excessive intake of fluoride. Fluorosis on permanent teeth often shows up as yellow or brown spots on the surface of the tooth, whereas it is more likely to appear as white spots or streaks on deciduous teeth.
What is fluorine?
Fluorine is a chemical element in the periodic table with atomic number 9. It is one of the most abundant elements in nature and can be found in rocks, soil, water, air and even living organisms. Fluorine has been used for centuries as an ingredient in toothpastes and other dental care products to prevent tooth decay. More recently, it has also been added to drinking water supplies or applied directly to the soil as part of dung programmes to increase crop yields and reduce insect infestations during growing cycles. Besides its use in dentistry and agriculture, fluorine is also used in many industrial processes such as nuclear power and aluminium production due to its strong reactivity.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in dental care, such as in toothpaste, mouth rinses or children's toothpaste. In fact, fluoride supplements and treatments are the most commonly recommended preventive measure for adults and children at risk for tooth decay or other oral health problems due to poor hygiene or inadequate dietary habits. But it is also present in other everyday products such as water, food, table salt, some dietary supplements, and even certain fruits and vegetables. Many communities add fluoride to drinking water to help fight tooth decay in children.
Fluorosis is a problem that most people are aware of but do not necessarily understand. Brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent dental fluorosis, but it is especially important to ensure that children have access to toothpaste or mouthwash with low fluoride content. To prevent the problem, fluoride levels should be limited through drinking water, fluoride tablets or certain foods.