Swallowed fluoride toothpaste in the early years of life has been postulated to be a risk factor for fluorosis, but the epidemiological evidence is weakened by the fact that most of the relevant studies were done in developed countries where an individual is exposed to multiple sources of fluoride.
OBJECTIVES: To quantify the risk of fluorosis from fluoride toothpaste in a population whose only potential source of fluoride was fluoride toothpaste.
METHODS: Case-control analyses were conducted to test the hypothesis that fluoride toothpaste use before the age of 6 years increased an individual’s risk of fluorosis. Data came from a cross-sectional clinical dental examination of schoolchildren and a self-administered questionnaire to their parents. The study was conducted in Goa, India. The study group consisted of 1189 seventh grade children with a mean age of 12.2 years.
RESULTS: The prevalence of fluorosis was 12.9% using the TF index. Results of the crude, stratified, and logistic regression analyses showed that use of fluoride toothpaste before the age of 6 years was a risk indicator for fluorosis (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.05-3.15). Among children with fluorosis, beginning brushing before the age of 2 years increased the severity of fluorosis significantly (P<0.001). Other factors associated with the use of fluoride toothpaste, such as eating or swallowing fluoride toothpaste and higher frequency of use, did not show a statistically significant increased risk for prevalence or severity of fluorosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Fluoride toothpaste use before the age of 6 years is a risk indicator for fluorosis in this study population.