Facts About Dental Fluorosis

Fluoride is a very important mineral that helps keep the teeth strong and healthy. It helps protect the teeth from decay, or reverse the early signs of decay when the destruction already exists. It does so by neutralizing or counteracting the harmful effects of the acids produced by decay-causing bacteria. But much like any other good stuff, too much fluoride is also a problem, as it can result to a condition called dental fluorosis.

Learn the basic facts about dental fluorosis in this article.

Dental fluorosis causes change in the appearance of the tooth enamel.

This change in appearance manifests as alteration of the color and/or surface texture of the enamel. Color change is characterized by the presence of white spots or brown streaks, while change in texture causes the enamel surface to become rough, pitted, or bumpy. These changes may remain throughout life. In some instances, the discolorations get darker over time.

Dental fluorosis can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Dental fluorosis is classified according to severity, although most cases of this condition are mild or very mild in nature. Very mild fluorosis is characterized by the presence of faint, lacy white streaks that are almost unnoticeable. It is often detected by your dentist during routine oral examination.

In mild fluorosis, the color change is more obvious and appears as bright white spots.

Moderate to severe fluorosis, on the other hand, are quite uncommon. Moderate fluorosis appears similar to mild fluorosis, except that it covers more tooth surface.

Severe fluorosis, meanwhile, has both color and surface texture alteration. It causes pitting of the enamel, in addition to the unsightly brown, black, or gray spots or streaks.

Dental fluorosis does not cause pain, discomfort, or problems in function.

The changes caused by dental fluorosis do not usually affect function, nor do they lead to any pain or discomfort. In fact, they can make the affected teeth much stronger and more resistant to decay. But these teeth can be quite unsightly and thus more of an esthetic concern for the patient.

Dental fluorosis often affects developing teeth.

Dental fluorosis is caused by taking too much fluoride for an extended period of time while the teeth are still developing. It commonly occurs before eight years of age. It can be avoided by supervising your kid every time they brush their teeth to ensure that they do not use too much of the fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash, and that they spit it instead of swallowing.

Fluoridated oral hygiene goodies contain high amounts of the mineral.

Dental fluorosis may or may not require treatment.

Since dental fluorosis is mainly an esthetic concern and does not cause any pain, discomfort, or problems in function, treatment is often not necessary. But for patients who are conscious about the appearance of their teeth, microabrasion and/or teeth bleaching is/are recommended.

If the surface texture of the tooth is already altered, the patient may opt for composite fillings, veneers, or even crowns.

Things You Should Know About Toothpastes

toothpaste. This toothbrush buddy comes in many forms, and they contain different ingredients. There are ordinary toothpastes, and there are ones formulated for your special needs. Learn more about this oral health goodie below.

What is Toothpaste Made up of?

Different toothpastes contain different list of ingredients, but the general components include the following:

  • Abrasives – along with your toothbrush, aid in the mechanical removal of debris and surface stains.

  • Fluoride – makes the teeth stronger by rendering it more resistant to the acids produced by decay-causing bacteria.

  • Humectant – retains water and prevents your toothpaste from drying out and getting lumpy or gummy.

  • Detergent – acts as foaming agent that helps spread the toothpaste around the mouth; it also has some cleaning action.

  • Binder – thickening agent; it helps stabilize and hold the toothpaste formula together.

  • Flavoring Agents – add some sweetness and scent to your toothpaste, making it more pleasant to use.

Why are Some Toothpaste More Expensive than Others?

Even though they have the same basic ingredients, not all toothpastes are created equal. Depending on the type of toothpaste, some special ingredients are added for increased benefits, hence the higher price. These include ingredients that are especially formulated for tartar control, whitening, and relief of sensitivity. More often than not, the most expensive toothpastes are the ones for sensitivity.

What are the Different Types of Toothpastes?

Toothpastes are classified based on what oral health problem they were formulated for. These types include:

  • Fluoride Toothpastes – these are your ordinary toothpastes which are formulated to fight and prevent tooth decay. As the name suggests, the main ingredient is fluoride. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and makes it less susceptible to tooth decay. And if tooth decay is already there, fluoride toothpastes may also aid in the arresting the decay process.

  • Tartar Control Toothpastes – these toothpastes do not move tartar deposits per se; rather, they work to remove as much plaque as possible to prevent further tartar buildup. Some manufacturers claim that this type may also work to soften the deposits.

  • Whitening Toothpastes – if you’re looking to give your smile a little bit of sparkle, then this type of toothpaste is your best bet. Whitening toothpastes have more abrasives than ordinary toothpastes, allowing them to be more effective in removing surface stains. Some may also have bleaching ingredients like peroxides, or polishing agents that makes the teeth shinier.

Take note that whitening toothpastes are intended only to restore the natural color of your teeth. It won’t make your teeth any whiter than its natural shade.

  • Desensitizing Toothpastes – this type is prescribed for individuals who experience sensitivity, either as a result of tooth decay or gum disease.

Desensitizing toothpastes contain compounds that work to physically block the exposed tubules of the tooth. These tubules connect directly to the nerves in the pulp, causing sensitivity. Blocking these tubules brings quick relief from sensitivity.

Which Type of Toothpaste is the Best?

The best toothpaste for you depends on what your oral health needs are. But no matter which one you choose or which one your dentist prescribes, always make sure that it has a seal of approval by the American Dental Association.