It is a condition on the surface of the teeth that alters the color of the enamel or dentin due to strong exposure to fluoride during the process of teeth formation, which results in an irregular appearance but does not constitute any damage, as it could make them more resistant to cavities. Fluorosis can appear up to eight years old when the teeth continue to form under the gums, once they come out this possibility no longer exists. According to studies performed, excessive intake of fluoride at an early age is due to:
- An amount of fluoride higher than recommended.
- The intake of processed foods with fluoridated water or nutritional supplements with fluoride.
- Mouthwashes with a high fluoride concentration.
Fluorosis is classified into three types:
- Mild: slight lines or ridges on the surface of the teeth.
- Moderate: appearance of white spots on the enamel.
- Severe: roughness in the enamel, yellowish stains, or changes in the teeth’ shape. In these cases, the child may suffer from dental sensitivity or generate cavities more easily.
It is recommended that children begin regular dental visits from the first year of age to care for their oral health and determine the appropriate amount of fluoride and identify any abnormalities for prompt treatment.
When fluorosis is severe, in addition to giving a bad appearance, the teeth can wear down or fracture more easily, often preventing their restoration. On the other hand, long-term continuous and excessive intake of fluoride can trigger skeletal fluorosis leading to joint pain, deformity, or stiffness.