DENTAL FLUOROSIS

Overview:

This is a patchy white and chalky colouration of the tooth surface resulting from excessive intake of fluoride. Fluorides are compounds of fluorine an element.
Though this excessive intake of fluoride could be gotten from other means but the commonest source of excess fluoride is the natural source of drinking water. Some states in the North East of Nigeria (Plateau, Maiduguri, Gombe etc) have a high level of fluoride in the soil which in turn leach into the water, hence dental fluorosis is common in these areas.

Dental fluorosis is present in mild, moderate and severe forms.
In the severe form, the tooth colour changes to brown because the enamel which is the outer layer of the tooth is thin, rough, uneven and even brittle this makes the tooth/ teeth to be susceptible to stains from food and drinks. Bear in mind that fluoride is fundamental in forming healthy teeth and bones. It is also essential for tooth defence against demineralization caused by acid from bacteria activity on food.

Causes of fluorosis

  • Drinking natural water with high amounts of fluoride.
  • Swallowing large amounts of fluoride toothpaste

Type of fluorosis

  • Mild fluorosis.
  • Moderate fluorosis.
  • Severe fluorosis

Symptoms of fluorosis

1. Unsightly appearance of the teeth.

2. Internal discolouration meaning routine professional cleaning can not remove the stains.

3. Subsucetibility to tooth decay in severe cases but mild actually reduces tooth decay incidence.

4. Tooth sensitivity.

Management of fluorosis

1. Tooth whitening
2. Dental veneer
3. Dental crown
4. Treatment of symptoms.

Complications

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth discolouration
  • Toothache.

Prevention

If you live in an area with a high amount of fluoride in water it is advisable not to drink natural water from rivers, wells, or boreholes when you are pregnant and not to give such to your children till they are 12 years when all the tooth forming process is completed.

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