Fluoride Action Network


OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine the prevalence of esthetic problems due to dental fluorosis, and determine the relationship of different fluoride exposure histories to the occurrence of these problems. METHODS: In 1993-94 2,715 children in grades 2 and 3 and 3,297 adolescents in grades 8 and 9 were examined by four dentists. Questionnaires detailing exposures to various fluoride technologies were collected from 3,022 of these study participants. Esthetic ratings of the participants’ maxillary anterior teeth were made by the examiners, the participants themselves, and their parents using questionnaires designed for this purpose. RESULTS: Data indicate that 46 percent of the participants had dental fluorosis. Only 40 percent had fluorosis on anterior maxillary teeth. The prevalence of esthetic problems ranged from about 1 percent to 4 percent, depending on how an esthetic problem was defined. Esthetic problems as defined by the participant were more prevalent for the “over 11” age group. Logistic regression results demonstrated significant associations between several of the classifications of esthetic problems and the use of fluoride supplements and dentifrices, and exposure to fluoridated water during the third year of life. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that the prevalence of esthetic problems is low in the communities surveyed, and that exposure to any number of fluoride technologies in the third year of life can increase a child’s risk for this problem.