BACKGROUND: Fluoride dentifrice is a primary means of preventing childhood caries, but it is also an important risk factor for fluorosis. The authors examine the influence of fluoride dentifrice ingestion on fluorosis of the permanent incisors.
METHODS: Participants in the Iowa Fluoride Study received questionnaires at regular intervals concerning fluoride sources. The authors assessed fluorosis using the fluorosis risk index. They estimated daily fluoride ingestion from dentifrice, diet and fluoride supplements and divided the amount by kilograms of body weight. The statistical analysis related fluoride ingestion to fluorosis in the permanent incisors.
RESULTS: In bivariate analyses, mild fluorosis was significantly related to ingestion of fluoride dentifrice at ages 24 and 36 months (P = .02 for both). After the authors adjusted for fluoride ingested from dietary sources, logistic regression showed a significant association between fluorosis and dentifrice ingestion at age 24 months (P = .04).
CONCLUSIONS: The study results suggest that fluorosis of the permanent incisors is influenced by ingestion of fluoride dentifrice during the first three years of life. Further research is needed to assess total intake of fluoride as a risk factor for fluorosis.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: These results support recommendations that young children use only a pea-sized amount of dentifrice. Parents should supervise young children as they brush their teeth with fluoride dentifrice.