Fluoride mineral is essential for the normal development of bone and teeth. However, its presence in excess of the required limit results in fluorosis of bone (skeletal) and teeth (dental). It is a dominating public health issue in India due to the geographical fluoride belt across numerous states. Despite fluoride’s anticarcinogenic potential, when present in excess amounts, deteriorates aesthetics and cripples the physical, mental and social health of individuals.
We spoke to Dr. Ankit Mashru, Consultant, Dental Services department at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital to understand more about this metabolic bone condition and the symptoms associated with it. Scroll down to know what the doctor wants you to know.
What Causes Dental Fluorosis?
Drinking water is a major source of fluoride in India. It affects the population of 20 states in India(fluoride level in drinking water >1.5 mg/L), and about 62 million people in India suffer from dental, skeletal and non-skeletal fluorosis. Out of these, six million are children below the age of 14 years. Groundwater is considered the major source of drinking water in most places on Earth. Rajasthan and Gujarat in north India and Andhra Pradesh in south India are the worst affected states.
Dental fluorosis is caused by taking in too much fluoride over a long period when the teeth are forming under the gums. Only children aged 8 years and younger are at risk because this is when permanent teeth are developing. Children older than 8 years, adolescents, and adults cannot develop dental fluorosis. The severity of the condition depends on the dose (how much), duration (how long), and timing (when consumed) of fluoride intake.
Symptoms of Dental Fluorosis
It is important that one understands the signs and symptoms of this severe metabolic bone disease. The symptoms of fluorosis usually range from tiny white specks or streaks that may be unnoticeable to dark brown stains and rough, pitted enamel that is difficult to clean. The condition often leads to a certain change in the colour of your teeth. Those teeth that are unaffected by fluorosis are mostly smooth and glossy. They should also look a little pale creamy white.
How To Prevent Dental Fluorosis
- Make sure your child spits toothpaste out instead of swallowing it.
- Limit your child’s consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages.
- Community Diagnosis of Fluorosis village/block/cluster wise by removing excessive fluoride from drinking water (using various defluoridation techniques)
Identifying Dental Fluorosis
Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of the tooth’s enamel surface. Mild forms of fluorosis appear as white, lacy markings on the tooth’s enamel Moderate fluorosis looks just mild but covers more of the tooth. In rare cases, fluorosis is described as severe. When fluorosis is severe, the enamel may have pitting and brown spots.
Treating Dental Fluorosis
Unfortunately, dental fluorosis cannot be reversed once it develops. Current treatments simply mask the appearance of this condition. The treatment approach in dental fluorosis depends on its severity. In mild fluorosis, microabrasion, bleaching, and a combination of both are also preferable treatment options. In moderate cases, resin infiltration is a good option whereas in severe cases it would warrant more aggressive and invasive options such as full-coverage porcelain crowns. Full coverage restoration requires very careful planning as well as execution of the procedure. For more severe fluorosis with dark discolouration and surface pitting, adhesive restorative dentistry may be necessary to fulfil a patient’s aesthetic requirements and expectations.
In conclusion, increasing awareness in the population regarding the fluoride content of the available drinking water, timely identification of the condition and early treatment shall help curtail the problem and aid in improving the general well-being of our population.
*Original full-text article online at: https://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/dental-fluorosis-symptoms-5-warning-signs-of-this-severe-metabolic-bone-disease-975825/